Ten Safety Tips to Help Parents Keep Children Safe This Summer
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Says Teaching Children About Safety Works
ALEXANDRIA, Va., July 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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 offers parents ten safety tips to help 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 a 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," according to Ernie Allen, President & CEO of NCMEC. "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.
This year the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children celebrates its 25th anniversary. NCMEC has played a role in the recovery of more than 138,500 children. Today more children come home safely than ever before. In 2008, NCMEC helped recover more children than any other year in the organization's 25-year history raising the recovery rate from 62% in 1990 to 97% today. And more of those who prey on children are being identified and prosecuted. Yet too many children are still missing and too many children are still the victims of sexual exploitation. There is much more that needs to be done.
About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization. Since it was established by Congress in 1984, the organization has operated the toll-free 24-hour national missing children's hotline which has handled more than 2.5 million calls. It has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 138,500 children. The organization's CyberTipline has handled more than 700,000 reports of child sexual exploitation and its Child Victim Identification Program has reviewed and analyzed more than 23 million child pornography images and videos. The organization works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
To learn more about NCMEC, call its toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or visit www.missingkids.com
Safety tips for parents at theme parks
Sentinel Staff WriterSafety tips:
- Pay careful attention to where children are and who they are with at all times. They should not be alone in the park or become isolated.
- Children should tell parents or guardians if anyone approaches them or makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused. If separated from adults, they should go to the closest guest services center.
- Families should discuss where to meet if lost or separated. Get a map of the park prior to the visit or after arriving.
- Accompany young children on all rides. Older children should stay in groups and take a friend with them.
- Always accompany younger children to restrooms in the park. Older children should not go to the restroom alone.
- Report any suspicious or inappropriate behavior to park authorities.
- If you have a cell phone, keep it on and make certain your children know those numbers.
- Children should not wear clothing displaying their names.
- Children should not talk to strangers.
- If parents are not participating on a field trip, they should find the chaperone's contact information.
n Sunscreen: Almost everyone who spends time out in the sun must wear sunscreen to block the harmful, damaging effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Use a sunscreen that offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF rating of at least 30. Apply it liberally and often (at least every two hours). Parents, protect your kids’ precious skin.
- Insects: Beware of the many summer bugs lurking out there. For mosquito protection, use a repellent that contains
DEET, which, when used as directed, is safe for adults and children older than 2 months. Regarding the stinging insects such as yellowjackets, wasps and honeybees, avoid them if they are in your vicinity. If you do get stung by a honeybee, which is the only one of the stinging insects that leaves a stinger behind in your skin, remove it as quickly as possible by any means possible. It is OK to just pull it out with your fingers and not waste time finding something with which to scrape it off. Immediately apply ice to the sting. Also, when out in a wooded or grassy area, always check your entire body for ticks when you get home. If you find one, remove it as soon as possible by getting a pair of tweezers, grabbing the tick close to the skin and pulling it straight out.
- Poison oak: The best protection is to recognize it and avoid it. If you come into contact with poison oak with your skin, clothing (including shoes and shoe laces), or garden tools, wash the affected area immediately with soap and water. Poison oak oil must be washed off your skin within a few minutes to avoid the dreaded rash. Remember, all parts of the poison oak plant contain the nasty oil, including the leaves, branches and roots.
- Heat: Heat exhaustion is marked by extreme sweating; fatigue; and cramps. Heat stroke (a life-threatening condition) is marked by lack of sweating; red, hot skin; and a very high body temperature. Both conditions can usually be prevented by drinking plenty of liquid and avoiding direct sun as much as possible, especially between the hours of 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Water safety: Four thousand Americans drown every year, with most victims being men by a factor of four times more than women. Alcohol is frequently involved. So make sure the kids are supervised in the water every single minute. Watch out for rapid currents, rip tides and rocks, depending on where you are, and always be aware of your surroundings. Boat injuries claim another 700 American lives a year. Drive your boat sensibly, have enough life preservers on board for all passengers and do not drink alcohol and drive.
- Bicycling: Wear a helmet! No matter how obvious this bit of advice is, I still see people riding without a helmet — and I really cringe when I see children without this life-saving protection. Head injuries are often very serious, if not deadly, and are inexcusable when they involve the lack of a helmet. Be aware of your surroundings and be in control of your bike at all times. Don’t take foolish chances.
- Eating: Summer picnics can be a common source of food poisoning, manifested by vomiting and diarrhea. Food left out too long is the usual culprit. Handling uncooked chicken or eating undercooked chicken is also a common source of this illness.
- Driving: We all drive more during the summer. The cheapest form of life insurance while you are in a car is the good old seal belt. Wear it! Make sure your children are in proper age-appropriate car seats. And hand-held cell phone use while driving your car is now illegal — don’t break the law.
Follow these tips, and have a very enjoyable, safe summer.
Terry Hollenbeck, M.D., is an urgent-care physician at Santa Cruz
Keep Summer Safe For Your Kids
And make sure the kids have their bike helmets strapped on right:
Smith also reminds everyone to keep an eye on the kids when there fireworks are going on.
Letter: Never Leave Child Alone in a Car
Thursday, July 02, 2009
To the Editor:
On Saturday June 20, yet another child died of hyperthermia when left alone in a parked car. April Knight, 2, lived in Kentucky, and at the beginning of summer is already the 13th child in the U.S. to die in a hot vehicle this year.
How can we be sure this does not happen to the children and families in our own community?
The truth is summer may be a fun time of year, but it can present difficult, sometimes dangerous challenges for parents. From inconveniences like bug bites to tragedies like drowning and death, children themselves are often unaware of these issues or too young to understand. Fortunately, many of these accidents are preventable. As parents, babysitters and caregivers, it’s our job to ensure that every child remains safe and healthy in the coming months. Taking a few moments to be aware of these situations is a small sacrifice to make for our children’s wellbeing.
Parents might leave their children alone in a vehicle if they want to avoid waking a sleeping baby or getting the child out of and back into a car seat. But a child can get overheated quickly — it only takes 10 minutes for a car’s temperature to increase 19 degrees Fahrenheit. Long lines or a broken register can make a quick trip in the store unexpectedly longer; meanwhile, the vehicle is growing warmer. This and countless other safety issues for children in parked or running vehicles are very real and very dangerous. A child should never be left alone in a car.
Parenting can be tough at times, and summer safety issues pose a special challenge. Luckily, resources are available dedicated to helping parents make the season both fun and safe. Visit the Parent Resource Center on Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) of Northern Virginia’s Web site at www.scanva.org and look for the feature on summer safety. Reading through tips on children in cars, preventing sunburns, water safety, finding supervision and other topics in our summer safety section is an easy way to increase your knowledge and prepare for this season. Take time to learn more now, and keep summer the fun-filled time it should be for you and your children.
SCAN of Northern Virginia
Keeping Children Safe From Predators
Tuesday , February 14, 2006
This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," February 10, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
Joining us now are two of the collaborators behind "The Safe Side." Of course, we have the host of "America’s Most Wanted."
Welcome, both of you back to the program.
First of all, my kids, I didn’t have to make them watch this video. Because once I put it in, it was like every other video that you put in, they just loved it. They stood there. They watched it. We talked about it. It’s mind-boggling to me how many of these predators are out there, isn’t it?
JULIE CLARK, "THE SAFE SIDE": It’s stunning. It’s absolutely stunning. And parents have to have these conversations with their children. And what we hear at "The Safe Side" all the time is "I don’t know how to talk to my kids about it."
CLARK: I don’t want the kids to be afraid of everybody that they see. And of course, you don’t. But you want your kids to have the right information and know what to do. So that’s what this is all about.
HANNITY: John, it frustrated me somewhat. I had you both on the radio and right here on this program. You, rightly so, were trying to get this Child Safety Act of 2005 passed. A lot of these guys didn’t have the moral courage to stand up here.
But we’ve got a problem in every small town and every city in this country. These guys are lurking in every neighborhood — there are no exceptions — that they are predators of little children.
JOHN WALSH, HOST, "AMERICA’S MOST WANTED": Absolutely. And there’s no way to track the ones who don’t comply with their parole or probation. You know, I thought parole or probation was a privilege, but we have 550,000 convicted sex offenders in this country. These are the guys that have been convicted and are felony convictions.
And 150,000 of them are missing. So there is no way to track them. No way to know if they’re going state-to-state. We had a case last week on "America’s Most Wanted" where a guy had two warrants out for him for violating his parole as a
How do you tell those girls and those parents that the
HANNITY: Obviously, they were too upset with, you know, giving lectures to Judge Alito, which they probably could have done in about a day.
What is the status? When you reintroduce this bill you have to now go back to the beginning. This — this was why we had some urgency the last time you were on the program. It didn’t get passed. How can people get behind it and how short did you fall here?
WALSH: Well, first of all, they can visit TheSafeSide.com, the Web site where they can find this video. And Julie did a great job. She’s the genius who created "Baby Einstein" and put all her
So they generated almost 20,000 letters to U.S. senators, TheSafeSide.com did. And you can find that. You can find a sample letter, who your senators are, and write them.
But you’re right. We have to reintroduce it before the
HANNITY: Have you been up to Washington? Have you spoken to these guys, too?
CLARK: I have not, but boy, John has been up there constantly.
HANNITY: Yes, I know he has.
CLARK: It’s been fantastic.
HANNITY: What is the whole premise behind this? You obviously know that there are predators out there, but the idea is to teach children how to react. Are they capable?
CLARK: I think kids are really capable of knowing the right thing to do. Avoiding the situation, and that’s what we try to tell kids. You know, you get in the car, you put on your seatbelt every day.
CLARK: You don’t get into an accident every day. You do it because you want to be prepared, and you want to be ready and know what to do if the situation arises. And that’s what "The Safe Side" is all about.
HANNITY: Yes. I want to go — John, I want to ask this question. The recidivism rate is so high for these predators. Why do we even let them out at all and have these — for example, I went to the New York Web site and literally you cannot follow, because you’re supposed to be able to find predators in your neighborhood. Why do we even let them out, knowing how high the recidivism rate is for these predators? Why let them out?
WALSH: Well, you and I have talked about this a million times. I mean, little
I don’t know why we let them out. I don’t know why we as a society don’t accept the fact that they are not curable. I don’t know anybody in the psychiatric community that says we can cure these guys. So if we can’t cure them and we don’t keep them in jail as long as they should be there, I say they should be on a penile colony on Mars. We’ve got to — we’ve got to at least track them.
COLMES: "The Safe" — you do this in a very interesting way, a very creative way, that you don’t scare the kid. You actually make it fun for them. And it would be very easy to do it another way. How did you manage to do it in a way that gives them entertainment value as opposed to, "Oh, my God?" A frightening way.
CLARK: Right. Well, we had to make it fun. You’re exactly right. Because kids, the way that they learn is by repeat viewing. So we wanted them to watch it again and again and again.
We use a great host, a very, very funny person. There’s a gorilla. There’s a dog. There’s lots of goofy stuff that happens in the video. It was written by Carol
CLARK: Great, great stuff. And that was, you’re exactly right, the key.
COLMES: They actually — the kids want to watch it?
CLARK: They want to watch it. You know? And parents are talking to them about it, and it’s opening up these conversations with parents and kids. And it’s great.
COLMES: In terms of the safety act we talked about, John. We talked about the trouble you had getting it passed. Specifically what would it do? What are the provisions of that piece of legislation?
WALSH: It would create a national sex offender registry. Some states sort of adhere to Megan’s Law. Some sheriffs don’t do it. Some chiefs of police don’t.
It would create a national sex offender registry so we would know. If these guys don’t register when they go state-to-state, it would be a federal crime. And guess who would look for them? Not that one little man police department or one- woman police department, the
If they committed a second offense, they would do 25 to life. It would certainly give us the chance to know that when they went from state-to-state or didn’t comply, that there would be somebody that would go get them.
COLMES: I don’t understand the resistance to this. And you, Julie, have — you must hear from parents all the time.
CLARK: I do.
COLMES: Who just are worried, concerned. We hear so many stories like the Lunsford case and the things that John covers and we’ve talked about on this show. Parents see this and they realize how vulnerable they are.
CLARK: Absolutely. All of us as parents vulnerable. And what I never hear people talking about are the rights of these children, the rights of the children who are victimized. What happens to them? I think that we always hear about the rights of the criminals but never the kids. And these kids’ lives are being destroyed. We have to work on it.
HANNITY: All right, guys.
Watch "Hannity & Colmes" weeknights at 9 p.m. ET!