Teaching Our Kids and Ourselves
According to a study by the U.S. Justice Department, 359,000 children are kidnapped every year. Of that 359,000 total, 4,600 children are kidnapped by people who are not relatives, many result in rape and assaults. In 1988, 114,600 children may have been involved in attempted kidnappings; 450,700 children ran away from home; and 127,000 were abandoned by their parents.
Never assume that your child will not be abducted, abused or exploited. It is imperative that we take positive measures to ensure their safety and prevent them from becoming victims of crime. Listed below are Child Safety Tips for Parents;
- Have your child(children) fingerprinted.
- Always maintain a current photograph of your child(children) including current height and weight.
- Obtain a passport for your child(children). Once obtained, it is hard for someone else to obtain another.
- Know who your child's friends are, their parents, address and phone number.
- Never leave your child unattended; not at home, in a vehicle, at play, or anywhere.
(i.e.: shopping malls, a car, home, etc.)
- Have your child's school establish a "School Call Back Program". If your child does not arrive at school on time, the school should call to find the reason for absence.
- Define what a STRANGER is. Let your kids know that just because they see someone everyday (e.g. mailman, paperboy, neighbor, etc.) it does not mean these people are not strangers.
- Teach your children their full name, your name, full address, and phone number, including area codes. Teach them how to use a phone.
- Teach your children the "What if...?" Game, making up different dangerous situations that they might encounter and helping them play out what they would do in that situation.
- Take the time to talk to your children and be alert to any noticeable changes in their behavior or attitude toward an adult or teenager; it may be a sign of sexual abuse.
- Teach your children that their body is private and no one has the right to touch them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable. If anyone touches them in a wrong way they should: SAY NO, GET AWAY, and TELL SOMEONE they trust.
- If your child becomes missing, or you suspect abuse, contact your LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENT IMMEDIATELY.
Child Safety Tips for Kids
Following are important Child Safety Tips that every child should know. Most will be obvious to the child, however others will need additional explanation from you. All parents should take the time to go through each of the safety tips with each child, explain its significance, and ensure they know and understand.
- I know my full name (first, middle and last) and complete address including city, state and zip code.
- I know my phone number including area code and how to dial "911" and "0" for emergencies. I know that I can use any phone to call "911" and "0" without using any money.
- I know my family "Secret Code Word" and know not to go with anyone, for any reason, who does not use the "Secret Code Word."
- I know not to put my name on any clothing, jewelry, hats, caps, jackets, tee shirts, bikes, etc., where people can see it.
- I know not to play in isolated areas or take short-cuts through dangerous or deserted areas such as creeks or vacant lots.
- I know to always walk and play in groups. I always practice the "Buddy System" and that there is safety in numbers.
- I know not to go door-to-door selling something without an adult with me.
- I know to always let my parents or child care person know where I am going.
- I know to walk on the left facing traffic so that I can see if a car stops near me.
- I know to keep all doors and windows locked when I am home alone.
- If I am home alone and someone knocks on the door, I know to ask, "Who is it?" without unlocking or opening any door or window. If it is not someone I am expecting, I know to say, "My mom/dad is busy and can't come to the door right now." I know to talk through the door and ask the person to come back later. If the person refuses to leave, I know to call the police. I know to never let the person inside for any reason.
- If I arrive home and see that any window or door is open or broken, I should not go in. I know to go to a trusted neighbor and call "911" or "0" for Operator.
- If I am home alone and the phone rings, I know to never let a stranger know I'm home alone. I know to say, "My mother/father can't come to the phone right now."
- I know that it is okay to hang up the telephone if I don't like what I hear, such as strange noises, scary talk or nothing at all.
- I know that there are emergency numbers to call if I'm home alone and get scared, including how to telephone my parents and neighbors.
- I know that a stranger is anyone (man or woman) who is not known by me.
- I know not to go with strangers and to run away from them when approached.
- I know to never accept candy, food, money or anything from a stranger.
- If someone I know, a friend or a neighbor, asks me to come into his/her house or go somewhere with them, I know to ask my mom/dad first.
- I know never to approach a car with strangers. If a stranger says something to me, I know not to go near the car to answer or to have them repeat the question.
- I know never to help a stranger with directions, fix their car, find their lost pet or let a stranger take my picture.
- I know never to hitch hike.
- If a stranger is following me, instead of hiding in bushes or behind a building, I know to go to a place where there are people and ask for help.
- I know to keep at least two arms lengths away from a stranger when walking.
- I know never to go with a person who says they are a police officer if they are not in uniform and have a police car. I know not to go with a stranger, even if they show a badge. I know to tell my mom/dad about all strange and/or unusual events.
- I know never to accept a ride from a stranger.
- I know, that even thought I may see and recognize certain people (like the mailman, ice cream truck driver, newspaper person, etc.), these people are considered strangers to me and I should never go with them without permission from my mom/dad.
- I know the difference between a "good touch" and a "bad touch" and that certain areas of my body are very private. I know to report any "bad touches" to mom, dad, a trusted adult and the police.
- I have the right not to be touched in ways that make me feel uncomfortable, the right to say "NO" and the right to get help.
- I know that if an adult tells me to keep a secret, I know that it is okay to tell mom, dad or a trusted adult.
- I know that I have the right to feel safe and I know who I can trust to talk to if and when I am not feeling safe.
- I know to always tell my mom/dad if I am away from them and something happens that makes me feel uncomfortable.
- I know to call home when I get to my friend's house, shopping, etc., and to call when I am on my way home and to always come home before dark.
- I know that if I get lost in a store or shopping mall, I will go to a cashier or security person.
- I know never to go alone to movie theaters, arcade game stores, public rest rooms, parks, swimming pools or school yards (after school hours).
- I know that running away from home is no fun. When I am having problems, I know that I can talk to my family or a trusted adult.
- I know my three rules if I find myself in a dangerous situation:
1. SAY NO!
2. RUN AWAY WHILE SCREAMING HELP!
3. TELL A TRUSTED ADULT!
These Child Safety Tips have been reprinted with permission of Child Quest International. CHILD QUEST is an international non-profit organization devoted to the protection and recovery of missing, abused and exploited children. For more information, check out their webpage at Child Quest International.
Project ChildSafe (Gun Locks)
FREE GUN SAFETY LOCKS ARE BEING DISTRIBUTED IN LAVON AS PART OF STATEWIDE FIREARMS SAFETY PROGRAM
The Office of the Governor initiated Project ChildSafe under former governor George Bush. It is being coordinated by the Office of the Governor and the Texas Criminal Justice Division and administered by the non-profit National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). The program aims to promote firearms safety messages and to provide free gun locking devices to all Texas gun owners.
The Lavon Police Department supports this program and is distributing free gun safety locks to citizens in an effort to promote firearms safety. The free locks are available to Lavon residents ages 18 years and older at City Hall in the Lavon Police Department. DO NOT bring any firearms to the police department.
For more information on gun safety locks, call the Crime Prevention Unit at (972) 843-4219.
NOTE: Gun locks are intended to deter unauthorized persons, especially young children, from accessing and firing a weapon. The City of Lavon does not make the gun locks. The manufacturer is solely responsible for the quality, reliability, and the suitability of the gun locks for their intended purpose.
Families devote time and energy to create a healthy and happy home, but many Americans are unknowingly leaving their loved ones at risk to a common household danger; unintentional injuries. According to the Home Safety Council’s The State of Home Safety in America™ report, unintentional injuries at home prompted more than 20 million medical visits in a single year. There are simple steps you can take to help keep your loved ones safe in and around the home.
Learn more about actions you can take to keep your family safe in and around your home at the Home Safety Council’s website.
Use the following checklist as a general guide to help keep you and your children safe at home. This checklist is not all-inclusive. Customize your safety measures to meet any special needs.
___ Have you tested your hot water and turned the temperature
of your water heater down to 120 Fahrenheit or lower to
reduce the risk of burns and scalds?
___ Have your older children memorized your address and
___ Do you have a first-aid kit that is easily accessible and
stocked with emergency items?
___ Have you installed UL-listed smoke alarms on every level of
___ Do you test your smoke alarms once a month to make sure
they are working, and replace the batteries every year?
___ Does your family practice a home fire escape plan at least
twice a year?
___ Are all matches and lighters secured in a locked cabinet?
___ Have you installed a UL-listed carbon monoxide (CO) alarm
in the hallway near bedrooms in your home?
___ Does your child stay at least three feet away from the range
at all times?
___ Do you keep all pot handles turned away from the edge of
___ Do you test the temperature of your child’s bath water to
ensure it is below 120 Fahrenheit?
___ Have you installed child safety locks on cabinets where
hazardous materials are stored?
___ Are dangerous household items, such as medicines, toxic
bleaches, oven and drain cleaners, paint solvents, polishes,
and waxes, stored safely in a locked cabinet?
___ Do you lock up all outside chemicals, especially pesticides,
fertilizers and automotive fluids?
___ Do you use gasoline as a motor fuel only, and store it
outside the home in a shed or garage?
___ Do dangerous household and outside products have child-resistant packaging?
___ Do you keep all plastic wrapping materials, including dry-cleaning bags, produce bags
and trash bags, away from children?
___ Are you careful not to hang pictures, quilts or decorations containing ribbon or string on
or over a crib?
___ Have you checked to make sure blind cords are not dangling low off windows and do not
hang in a loop?
___ Have you placed furniture, including cribs and playpens, away from windows to prevent
___ Are unused electrical outlets covered with safety caps?
___ If young children live in or visit your home, have you installed baby gates at the top and
bottom of stairwells?
___ Do you practice “touch supervision” – keeping children within an arm’s reach -- around
any standing water that could pose a drowning danger?
___ Have you examined nursery furnishings to be sure they are strong and secure?
___ Have you carefully examined toys and pacifiers and removed those with small or broken
parts that could be lodged in a child’s throat, ears or nose?
___ Do you keep small items including jewelry, buttons, safety pins, coins and small batteries
away from children?
___ Have you checked the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website at
www.cpsc.gov. to find out if your crib, toys or other home items have been recalled?