“The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has great resources to help parents talk to their children including the following ten things they can do to help keep children safe this summer:
1. MAKE SURE
children know their full names, address, telephone numbers and how to use the telephone.
2. 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.
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.
4. MAKE SURE
children know to stay away from pools, creeks, or any body of water without adult supervision.
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.
drop your children off at malls, movies, video arcades or parks as these are not safe places for children to be alone. Make sure a responsible adult is supervising younger children any time they are outside or away from home.
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.
8. 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.
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.
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.