By Nico Strydom
Recently incidents of children being kidnapped have been in the news regularly, with the result that parents have been warned anew to keep their children safe.
“As parents and guardians, it is our responsibility to not only educate our children about safety, but also to equip them with the necessary skills to handle a crisis,” explains Charnel Hattingh, national communication and marketing manager at Fidelity ADT.
According to Hattingh, there are some simple actions that can usually assist to keep your child safe. “Teach your children to always walk to school or to your home with a friend and to only walk along the streets they know. Children must also be taught to not walk openly with electronic gadgets, such as cell phones, in their hands.”
If children have to be fetched from school, they should rather wait in the school grounds for their lift than in the street. “Children should never get into a stranger’s car, even if the stranger tells him or her that mom or dad has sent him to fetch the child.” If someone else has to fetch your child from school, make sure your child knows about it beforehand. “You could even use a password system so that if the person who comes to fetch the child does not know the password, the child can seek help immediately.”
Hattingh states that children must also learn that should a stranger approach them, they should not speak to the person, regardless of whether or not they are friendly. “If someone tries to grab a child, the child should fight back and kick and scream. Also make sure your child memorises his or her full names, address and contact details.”
Dessie Rechner, director of Pink Ladies, an organisation that dedicates itself to tracing missing people, considers it to be extremely important to teach children to run away from danger and not towards it. “Danger refers to anything or anybody who enters their personal space. Teach your child to scream loudly. Your child’s safety is more important than polite conduct.”
According to Rechner, it is also essential to know at all times in whose presence your children are. “Talk to your child openly about safety and encourage him or her to tell you or someone they trust if anything or anyone makes them feel afraid, bewildered or uneasy.”
It is also important to set the example. “Create ‘what if’ scenarios with your children to make sure they understand the safety message and can apply it in an actual situation.”
Fidelity ADT: https://www.adt.co.za/
Pink Ladies: https://www.pinkladies.org.za/