Summer is supposed to be a carefree time, especially for children who are out of school and can spend the majority of their time outside enjoying the beautiful weather and doing fun activities. But according to the National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Thrown away Children (NISMART), 41% of kidnappings occur during the summer months of June, July and August. So before sending your child to the park or pool with friends make sure they know what to do if a stranger approaches them.
Below are a few tips from Krav Maga Worldwide on how to help lessen your child’s risk of being a victim of kidnapping this summer.
- It starts with open conversations. It’s important to teach children while they are young about what do if a stranger approaches them or makes them feel uncomfortable in anyway. Young children may be confused about the concept of a stranger in general and who is or isn’t one. Parents should emphasize that a stranger is just someone the child doesn’t know and not necessarily a good or bad person. It can also be helpful if parents ask their child about their day on a daily basis to help ensure that nothing suspicious occurred. Even if a child does not directly say a stranger approached them, parents should be able to pick up on body language and verbal cues that something is off base.
- Fight Back. Sign children up for intro self-defense classes specifically for kids and dealing with situations that can arise for their age group. These classes often teach children body language and verbal skills that can help deter potential attackers as well physical skills. Unfortunately, there is a very real possibility that a child may be in a situation that they can’t defuse or walk away from. Having a foundation of physical skills is vital for the child to be able to protect themselves when push literally comes to shove.
- Emergency planning. If a child will be left alone during the day, create and practice an emergency plan with them so they are aware of what to do in case someone comes to the door or tries to break in. Leave written instructions and important phone numbers on the fridge or counter and continuously practice safety skills with the child, which can help them become second nature and the child will know what to do on the spot.
- Make a plan and keep kids busy. Parents can set up a schedule with their child so that they know where they are supposed to be at what time and with who. If parents are friendly with neighbors, touch base with them and ask if they can keep an eye out on the child if they play outside often. Inform your child that they are trusted adults that they can go to if an uncomfortable situation arises. Parents can also tap into what the child’s interests are and sign them up for classes or programs that involve something that they love to do, such as art classes or sports programs. These programs and activities tend to be supervised by trained adults that can help keep the child safe.
For more information check out kravmaga.com see the Facebook page (KravMagaWorldwide), follow on Instagram @krav_maga_worldwide or call 800.572.8624.