10 Ways Parents Can Keep Children Safe This Summer

ALEXANDRIA,  Va.School is out and summer is an exciting time for kids. What are your child’s plans? Will he or she be spending time home alone or going to local parks and swimming pools with friends? The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) says there are 10 things parents can do to keep their children safe this summer.

  • Make sure children know their full names, address, telephone numbers and how to use     the telephone.
  • Be sure children know what to do in case of an emergency and how to reach you     using cell phone or pager number. Children should have a neighbor or trusted     adult they may call if they’re scared or there’s an emergency.
  • Review the rules with your children     about whose homes they may visit and discuss the boundaries of where they     may and may not go in the neighborhood.
  • Make sure children know to stay away from pools, creeks, or any body of water     without adult supervision
  • Caution children to keep the door locked     and not to open the door or talk to anyone who comes to the door when they     are home alone.
  • Don’t drop your children off at malls,    movies, video arcades or parks. These are not safe places for children to     be alone. Make certain a responsible adult supervises your younger     children at all times when they are outside and away from home.
  • Teach your children in whose vehicle they may ride. Children should be cautioned     to never approach any vehicle, occupied or not, unless accompanied by a     parent or other trusted adult.
  • Be sure your children know their curfew and check in with you if they are going to     be late. If children are playing outside after dark, make sure they wear     reflective clothing and stay close to home.
  • Choose babysitters with care. Obtain references from family, friends, and     neighbors. Many states now have registries for public access to check     criminal history or sex-offender status. Observe the babysitter’s     interaction with your children, and ask your children how they feel about     the babysitter.
  • Check out camp and other summer programs before enrolling your children. See if     a background screening check is completed on the individuals working with     the children. Make sure there will be adult supervision of your children     at all times, and make sure you are made aware of all activities and field     trips offered by the camp or program.

“Child safety is important all year, but summer is an especially important time for parents and children to include safety in their activities,” says NCMEC President and CEO Ernie Allen. “Always listen to your children and keep the lines of communication open. Your children are your best source for determining if everything is okay. Teach your children to get out of dangerous or uncomfortable situations right away and practice basic safety skills with them. Make sure they know they are able to tell you about anything that makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused.”

NCMEC also recommends that parents be sure all custody documents are in order and certified copies are available in case your children are not returned from a scheduled summer visit.

For additional safety tips and information, visit www.missingkids.com or www.netsmartz.org.

NCMEC June 8, 2010 press release

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