Ten Ways Parents Can Keep Children Safe This Summer

Jun 08, 2010, 09:00 ET from National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Teaching Children About Safety Works

ALEXANDRIA, Va., June 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- School is out and 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 says there are ten things parents can do to keep their 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.
  3. 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.
  4. MAKE SURE children know to stay away from pools, creeks, or any body of water without adult supervision
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

For additional safety tips and information visit www.missingkids.com or www.netsmartz.org.

NCMEC is the leading nonprofit organization dealing with the issues of missing and sexually exploited children and operates a 24-hour toll free national hotline for reporting missing child cases.  NCMEC has played a role in the recovery of more than 151,000 children and today, more children come home safely than ever before.  Last year alone we helped recover 13,075 children, improving our recovery rate from 62 percent in 1990 to 97.4 percent 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 2,475,300 calls.  It has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 151,300 children.  The organization's CyberTipline has handled more than 894,700 reports of child sexual exploitation and its Child Victim Identification Program has reviewed and analyzed more than 34,566,000 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 its web site at www.missingkids.com.

SOURCE National Center for Missing & Exploited Children