As the grandmother of 2 little girls ages 6 and 3, I understand what’s involved in taking children from the home. Every little excursion is a significant production; running errands, picking up groceries, shopping at Target, or grabbing a hamburger at McDonald’s. Personally, I feel that allowing kids to experience this great big world is extremely important to their overall development.
It’s worth the risks
However, leaving the home with infants, toddlers, and children entails tremendous forethought, ambition, and energy. Forethought is the most significant. Anyone who wants to venture into the actual world with small ones and keep everyone safe from injury needs to keep these safety tips in mind. Take off your rose-colored eyeglasses. Know the risks involved with taking children from their cozy safety of their dwelling. Even if you can not see them, be aware there are poor people out there who prey upon children, steal kids, abuse children, and even kill children.
These horrible creatures are one of us. My teenage daughter was snatched off her bicycle by a stranger one block from home in a safe suburban community! When I was a woman, everyone thought it was safe to allow children to roam freely about the area or in a department store. Not any more. In 1981, when John Walsh’s son Adam was kidnapped from a Sears toy division and later murdered, shops were no longer safe places for kids. There was a time when it was safe to send your children to a public rest room or wait at a bus stop without parental oversight.
Ensure that you are prepared for the job at hand. Here are a few “safer trip” tips. Don’t leave home without a charged cell phone and keep it in a convenient location like your pocket. Use a purse with a strap that crosses over your torso so both hands are free. Think ahead and place your diaper bag, baby carrier, stroller, etc in your car or truck before you bring the kids into the car.
If you have two or more children to look after, get someone to help get them located in your automobile. Don’t even think about leaving home without knowing for certain that you could manage the babies and the baby equipment. Teach your children about”stranger danger” and what to do should they encounter it: Yell, Run, Fight Back, and Tell Someone. Show them who do go to for help if they get lost or fearful while at a shop or restaurant, like an employee with a name badge, the service desk, or a security guard.
If possible, ensure that your children know their names, their parents’ names, and their home city. Try to have a mobile phone with GPS monitoring in your child’s pocket or backpack and, of course, teach your kids how to use a mobile phone and how and when to dial 911. If you can swing it, enroll your kids in self-defense classes. Are you tough mother? If you are not, it’s time to toughen up. Your lifetime and/or your children’s lives may depend on it.
Being a woman or a child in this world is a dangerous job. Learn some self-defense abilities. Take a self indulgent course, study a martial art, or read a book about personal security. If you can not protect yourself, how will you be able to effectively protect your kids? It’s never too late to toughen up. I was thirty-eight years old when I earned my black belt in Taekwondo and fifty-seven once I made my second level. In my book, Outsmarting the Bad Guys: A Personal Safety Guide for Women, I propose tips on avoiding danger in addition to explain”smack down” methods to use when required. There are even chapters on ways to teach your children self-defense techniques.
Good to know
Predators want weak victims. If they want a kid, they will search for a weak or distracted mother or care provider. A distracted mom out with kids is the perfect storm for difficulty. Here are a couple of things that divert mothers: talking on mobile phones, texting, shopping, chatting with partners, reading a book, fumbling with baby equipment, etc.. Whatever takes your entire attention off your kids is a dangerous diversion.
Children are stolen in the blink of an eye. If you wish to take your kids out in public, be ready to forgo distractions, and focus entirely on what is happening around you. Hang on for Dear Life! Never give up your children when you are out in public. Hold them tightly in your arms or by the hand. Never let your children wander off without you. Never walk away from a baby in a stroller or shopping cart. Never assume you’re totally safe in a specific place, not at a playground or a college.
I was shopping the other day and round a corner and came upon a newborn infant in shopping cart with no parent in website! If I wanted to sneak a gorgeous baby, there was my golden opportunity. Instead, I stood quietly enjoy a royal guard and waited for the baby’s mother to come back to her kid. I gave her an extreme glare and I could tell she got my message: DON’T LEAVE YOUR CHILDREN ALONE FOR EVEN ONE SECOND! I hope that I’ve scared you enough to actually think about personal safety and the safety of your kids. I also hope you will care about personal security as far as you care about security in your dwelling. Be safe out there!