Stranger Danger

With the startling increase in missing persons’ cases in South Africa, particularly children, parents more than ever need to educate their children about safety at home and at school.
By Jessica Baxter

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“Crime is a reality for South Africans and our children and teenagers are being affected,” says Verena Hulme, district manager for Fidelity ADT in Cape Town North. “We need to empower them to know what to do in an emergency and how to protect themselves,” she adds. “The golden rule with children is to develop good security habits and to communicate regularly about safety,” says Hulme. Here are 10 safety tips to share with your children today:
1. Make sure your children know their full names, address and phone number.
2. Give your children the correct emergency contact numbers to call and teach young children how to dial these numbers by showing them on your phone.
3. Put these numbers on speed dial on your home phone and mobile, and make sure your children know how to operate this function.
4. Let your children practice operating door and window locks, and insist they always check who is at the gate or door before opening it. They must know that nobody is allowed in the house unless you as parents have given them permission.
5. Teach them to never reveal on the phone or at the door that no adults are home, but to rather say their parents are too busy to come to the phone or door.
6. Your children should know where all the panic buttons are in the house and when to use them.
7. Talk about “stranger danger” and how important it is never to get in a car with someone they don’t know or leave the school grounds unaccompanied.
8. If you’re running late for the school pick-up, insist your child waits in the library or the secretary’s office where there is some supervision.
9. Should their extramural schedule change, make it a rule that they let you know immediately and keep them informed as to who will collect them from school if you can’t.
10. If your child is part of a school lift club, agree on a designated pick-up point where all the children must wait together – safety in numbers.

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