Welcome back to Moms Talk, where we take your questions, give advice and share solutions.
This week's question:
Have you discussed the recent kidnapping attempts in Milpitas with your kids or teens? In what ways have you stepped up safety precautions for your kids recently?
It is important to discuss the recent kidnapping attempts with your kids to make them realize that it's a danger that could happen to them. Teenagers can sometimes feel invincible and may think that things like kidnapping could never happen to them. Discussing how close these events have been can make them realize that it is a problem they need to be aware of.
It can be somewhat difficult to make kids aware, without making them scared or wary of strangers in general. Discussing specific things to look out for, such as men sitting in their cars or loitering in front of places where children or teens gather, is a good start. It may even be helpful to show teenagers some of the of the suspects from the recent attempts in Milpitas.
Considering that many abductions occur while walking to or from school, it's normal for parents to reconsider their children's transportation options. Shared carpools are always a good idea, as it can be hard for parents to pick their children up from school every day. Making arrangements for after-school activities are always a possibility, too, giving children a safe and constructive place to be until you are able to pick them up.
Still, if it is necessary for your children to walk home from school or elsewhere, there are other things we can do to help ensure their safety.
Try sitting down with your children to map out their route from school to home. Point out safe places for them along the way, such as a grocery store, a friend's house or a post office. If they think they are being followed, going home alone may not be a good idea. Tell them to go to a neighbor’s house until their parents come home or back to school until they can be picked up. If your child or teen has a cell phone, make sure they know how to reach the police, because dialing 911 in some areas may not connect them to the appropriate emergency assistance.
For more information on how to keep your children safe, go to LiveSecure.org for a free DVD on how to talk to your children about these issues.