The thought of anyone abducting my child makes my blood run cold. The harsh reality is that it does happen and the frequency is increasing, especially in South Africa where there has been recent hysteria about child abductions.
It is so sad that there have also been a huge amount of hoaxes doing the rounds recently which has put me (and I am sure many mothers) on edge.
About two weeks ago we were informed by our kids school that the SAPS has been doing the rounds and asking schools to tighten up security which they did, as well as go through safety protocols with our children. In turn I have also spent some time with my kids telling them what we must do to be safe.
Yesterday after school we were informed via email and sms that there was an attempted abduction at the school. Thankfully due to the diligence of the school and parents, the child did not get abducted but ran into the school to safety as she was taught.
I’m not going to go into the details or share the school, for my own kids safety, but also because this post is not about creating hysteria or spreading hot gossip. I’m only sharing that information with you because it has hit very close to home for me and it can for you and your family too.
We live in a small town with a tight community so it has been very scary for us all.
Here are some safety precautions that you can take to prevent your child from being abducted:
Talk To Your Child About Safety
You don’t want to scare your child but you do need to make sure your child understands that children can be taken. They need to know what to be aware all the time.
Talk to your child about whose car your child is allowed in, who they are allowed to leave the school with, who they can talk to and where they are allowed to be.
Make sure that your child knows not to accept anything, especially food and candy, from anyone.
Your child must know to shout for help if anyone picks him up or walks away with him. Anyone abducting a child will be looking for an easy target so talk to your children about ways that they can make sure they are not an easy target. Carrying a child that is throwing a wobbly is not easy – make sure to tell your child that the more they perform and wiggle the better.
Having a talk once with your child is not enough, make sure to repeat everything with your kids regularly and ask them questions to make sure that they understand.
The importance of this was highlighted for me recently when I asked my 6 year old daughter what you do when a stranger gives you a lollipop and she said remember to say thank you.
Know Where Your Children Are and Who They Are With
Thankfully my children are still small so it makes it quite easy for me – they are with me (or their father) or the school at all times. I don’t even let them go to play at a friend or to a birthday party without me.
If you have older children you won’t be able to stick to them like glue all the time, so you must always know where they are and who they are with all the time.
There is great modern technology out there which can help you with tracking your child such as these kids smart watches that have GPS tracking and SOS features.
Never Leave Your Child Alone In Public
Make sure your child is not alone in public – it will be so easy for someone to grab a child that is alone. Don’t leave your child alone to wait in a car even if it is just for a few minutes. Don’t leave your child alone in a shop, parking lot or even waiting outside the school for you. Get your child to wait inside the school premises for you.
If your child is older and will need to be somewhere in public make sure to use the buddy system, so a child is never alone anywhere. There is safety in numbers.
Have A Secret Password
Make up a secret password that only your kids and you know and teach them that if anyone says that mommy sent them to pick them up that they must ask for a password. If someone is trying to abduct your child this will probably give them a surprise and they will know they won’t easily get your child to go with them.
If you do need to get someone to fetch your kids in an emergency you can then give that person the password.
Talk To Your Community
One of the greatest ways to keep all the children in the community safe is to look out for each other. Chat to your neighbours, the school, the parents of your kids friends and remind everyone to be safety conscious. If you see someone taking your child’s friend from the school premises that is not the child’s parent make sure to check everything is fine.
I for one will have no problem if you question anyone that is with my child when I am not there!
Remember that no school staff will be able to recognize very single child and his parents and no parent will be able to recognize all the school staff as well as the children and their parents. If everyone looks out for those children that they do know everyone will be a little safer.