Protecting your child's safety

There's nothing scarier as a parent than the thought of your child going missing. In light of the recent disappearance of 10-year-old Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou from Ahuntsic-Cartierville, it got me to thinking about whether I'm protecting my son as much as I can from a similar frightening situation. 

I find it hard to protect my son, given he's only 5 - he says he understands stranger danger, but does he really? If someone flashed him something sweet, something fun to play with, or something cute and fluffy, would he be able to resist? We've discussed all the lures, we point out all the instances of possible danger while we're out and about, but I worry that, push comes to shove, he'd still succumb, like so many kids, to the broken promises of someone ill-willed or downright evil. It keeps me up at night thinking about it.

So we made sure he learned our phone number. We started just after he turned 4, and really reinforced it last summer when we found a lost child, and he got to see first-hand just how scared children and their parents get when someone is lost. 

We also created a "safe word." Not that we'd ever send someone he doesn't know to pick him up from school, but we wanted a specific word that someone would have to tell him in order for him to know whether or not this was a stranger. 

We test him often on these two things: "Bean, tell us our phone number." "Bean, what is the safe word."

My husband and I are also very vigilant about knowing our surroundings anytime we go somewhere new. When we stay a hotel we check where fire exits are and discuss this as a family. We do the same when we go to a crowded big event - we evaluate our surroundings, identify the people who work there (perhaps by their uniforms), or we point out a meeting spot should we ever happen to get separated.

I'm always aware of what my child is wearing - God forbid he were to go missing, the first thing authorities want to know is what the child has on. I also always have a recent picture of him on me.

There are even new tracking devices that can help you control your child's safety. These are often GPS trackers that have apps you can keep on your phone. These are great, too, when your child goes somewhere without you (i.e., school, a birthday party, etc.).

How do you protect your child's safety?

A full-time work-from-home mom of a toddler, Jennifer Cox (our “Supermom in Training”) loves dabbling in healthy cooking, craft projects, family outings, and more, sharing with readers everything she knows about being an (almost) superhero mommy.

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