Almost every week there is a post on social media of child-kidnapping and killings and parents are living on the edge everyday wondering if their children are safe.
The safety of children is compromised through different things. These can range from traveling to and from school, being at school or at home itself, or even playing outside. We have heard different stories about the abduction of children that one would have thought impossible, which shows that children are hardly guaranteed safety anywhere they are, even if it is at home.
Here are some tips to make sure that your child is safe. The child must know the following details as it will make it easy for them to be helped. They must know their full names, their parents’ names, contact numbers; their addresses, and emergency numbers. These are some of the basic things that your child needs to know but there is extra stuff to know like keeping a distance and avoiding taking things from strangers. You can also teach your children to be able to communicate with you, or a close family member so they can keep in check with where your child is. Parents can also consider tracking their children’s location but that is very difficult to do for working class communities.
Parents should have trusted transport drivers to get their children to and from school on time and safely but what happens if that safety is questioned? Some schools have people who help children cross busy roads at different times of the day. Sometimes the question is not whether it is safe to cross a road but whether it is safe to travel in a given choice of transport. How do parents then know that the transport is safe for the children especially ones that cannot yet take care of themselves like the grade ones and two? Well, parents could do things such as inspecting the condition that the transport is in. They should also ask for relevant papers of the car and of course the driver’s licence.
The above can help your child to stay out of harm’s way but it is sometimes too late to follow the tips as the child is already missing. Children are very curious and of course, that is essential for their growth to help with different learning but that makes them vulnerable to being kidnapped or worse.
Parents can then do the following to search for the child: they should not wait for twenty-four hours to report a missing child but instead go to the nearest police station with a clear picture of the child. Parents are also to give a detailed description of what the child was wearing and their last whereabouts. The person reporting will be required to sign a SAPS 55(A) form which gives the police permission to distribute photos and information about the missing child.
Parents say they feel like it is sometimes very difficult to keep their little one safe as they are always at work and they have to trust someone in that line of work to look after their child but here are some tips from other parents that they can use to make sure their little one is safe.
The most common one was to make sure that you always communicate with your child so that they become outspoken and are able to tell you if they come across things that make them uncomfortable. It is important that a child know knows their next of kin’s number or keep an information pack with them all the time that has the child’s details. Parents must also teach their children not to talk to strangers that offer them sweets, food or a ride home.
This article is an opinion piece submitted on 12 February 2023. The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of Karibu! Online or Khanya College. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (www.Karibu.org.za), and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.