The safety of children is paramount. Parents, guardians and caretakers must take every precaution possible to ensure that their children are protected at all times. Unfortunately, however, there are times when children are away from their caregivers.
Therefore the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department is offering safety tips which is aimed at striking a balance between avoiding the issue of child abduction and instilling a sense of fear in children. The goal is to instill a sense of caution.
- Never leave your child unattended ñ not even for a minute.
- Know where your child is at all times. Be familiar with friends, friend’s parents or guardians, and daily activities.
- Be sensitive to changes in your children’s behavior and talk to them about what caused any changes you may detect.
- Be alert to anyone who is paying an unusual amount of attention to your children or giving them inappropriate or expensive gifts. It is important, however, that you handle suspicions reasonably, since the interest or kindness may be genuine.
- Teach you children to trust their own feelings and assure them that they have the right to say “NO” to what they sense are wrong. Instruct them to get away quickly if the situation seems wrong.
- Listen carefully to your children’s fear and be supportive in all your discussions with them.
- Teach your children that no one should approach them or touch them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable. If someone does, they should tell a parent or other trusted adult immediately.
- Select babysitters and anyone having custody of your children carefully. If you don’t know them well, obtain references and check them thoroughly.
- Before allowing your child to visit an unfamiliar friend’s home without you, make it a point to get to know the friend and his/her parents.
- Ensure that school administrators, as a matter of policy, contact you immediately if your child does not appear in school unless you notify them of his/her absence on a given day.
- Watch your children while they are waiting at a bus stop. A child should never be left alone at a bus stop, especially if the stop cannot be seen from your home.
- Avoid dressing your children in clothing that displays his/her name. A child may not realize that someone who knows his/her name may not necessarily be a friend.
- Do NOT allow your children to solicit door-to-door alone, even for school, church, or scout related fund raisers.