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Keeping kids safe

Unfortunately, there is no foolproof method that will guarantee the safety of all children. However, following are some suggestions that law enforcement agencies encourage parents to teach their children to keep them safe. These tips are found at www.MikelleBiggs.com.

Yell, Kick and Scream: This may seem obvious, but many children freeze when strangers grab them. Kidnappers want children to go along quietly. Yell, "This person is a stranger!" Kick the kidnapper's foot, groin or knee. Scream!

Area Code and Phone Number: Make sure your child knows their area code and phone number. Does your child know how to make a collect call or dial in case of an emergency? Teach your child not to give their phone number or address to strangers.

Buddy System: A child alone is an easy target. Encourage your children to use the buddy system and to watch out for each other.

Lure Tactics: "I have lost my puppy. Will you help me find him?" "I'll give you $10 if you'll help me put this in the car." Parents, teach your children how to respond to these people. It is best to ignore them, avoid any conversation and run.

Family Code Word: Parents, a code word is a lock and key for your child. Stranger: "Your Mom and Dad have been in a car wreck. You need come with me right now!" Child: "What is the code word?" If they don't know, the child doesn't go. The child runs away from that person and tells whoever is responsible for them, teacher or parent, what happened. Get a description of the perpetrator if possible.

Current Photos and Records: Get photos taken every six months of your children and keep a photo on your person at all times. Fingerprints should be taken by a law enforcement agency, such as the sheriff's department. Also, copies of their dental and medical records are a must.

Child's Clothes: Make a mental note of what your child wears every day. Do not put your child's name on the outside of clothing because it allows a stranger to become verbally intimate with your child by calling him or her by name.

Communicate: Talk with your children about "stranger danger." Make sure they know a stranger is not a scary person, but any person they don't know. Share information with them about risks that they might face.

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