Saturday, January 28, 2006

What You Need to Know to Protect Your Children

It seems like we hear about a child who is abducted, molested, then killed nearly every week in the news. As a parent, it scares me to death to know that I can't protect my kids every minute of every day. In fact, as they grow older, they are more vulnerable because of being away from us more.

My wife and I have been accused of being "paraniod" about the safety of my children, and there may be some truth to that. I work at a police department, and unfortunately, have to hear about some of the things that happen to kids every day, and I am determined that none of them ever happen to my children, and pray that they never happen to yours. But, we need all the help we can get.

Please click the link/title to read the entire Black Belt Magazine article. Meanwhile, here are some key tips from the article that may help:

Practical Precautions
• Avoid writing your child’s name on clothes, lunch boxes or backpacks because it might enable a stranger to identify him.
• Tell your child that no one has the right to touch his body.
• Teach your child not to speak to strangers or accept gifts from them. If someone approaches your child on the street, he should stand at least five feet away from the stranger at all times, thus creating a gap that will allow the youngster to get away if he feels threatened.
• Accompany your child to public restrooms. If you cannot go in together, stand at the door and monitor how long the kid is inside.
• Have your child fingerprinted.
• Encourage your child to confide in you. Keeping secrets can result in increasingly
dangerous situations.
• Support your child if he refuses to hug and kiss relatives, for that attitude will make it easier for him to say “No!” to a touchy-feely stranger.
• Enroll your child in a reality-based self-defense program to increase his awareness and learn practical martial arts techniques.

Who Is After Your Children?
Wing chun kung fu expert and Black Belt Hall of Fame member William Cheung, a resident of Melbourne, Australia, created the Stranger Danger program to teach people about 10 common ploys abductors use to lure children:
• Giving gifts: The stranger offers the child candy or a toy.
• Being friendly: The stranger tries to get close by being nice.
• Playing games: The stranger invents a game to get the child’s attention.
• Acting helpless: The stranger pretends to need assistance.
• Being the leader: The stranger says, “Follow me so we can play a game.”
• Posing as a magician: The stranger does magic tricks to attract the kid.
• Playing the messenger: The stranger tells the child his mother or father sent him to deliver a message.
• Making promises: The stranger promises to take the child someplace fun—such as an amusement park.
• Being “Mr. Cool”: The stranger tries to impress the child.
• Acting scary: The stranger threatens the child.

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