RCMP in Manitoba are using International Missing Children’s Day as a platform for sharing preventative tips to ensure no child goes missing.
- Always encourage your kids to use the buddy system. It’s an effective prevention strategy that is applicable for all age groups and a great safety habit to practice throughout their childhood and young adult years. No matter the distance, travelling in groups is always safer.
- Talk with your children about common lure tactics used by abductors such as inviting them to play the latest video game console, looking for their lost pet, offering them a ride or food, asking for directions etc. Go through “What-if” scenarios with your children and explain clearly that no matter the lure, they are not to go with the person.
- Talk to your kids about strangers and make sure children understand not to go anywhere with anyone, without your permission first. This rule applies even if it’s someone they think they know or may have seen before, like a neighbour, or the parents of one of their friends, even one of your friends.
- We also stress the importance of teaching children basic personal safety skills and how to make safe decisions. This includes teaching them:
o to run for help and call police if they are being followed by a stranger,
o to shout as loud as possible for help if someone attempts to take them against their will,
o to fight, kick, bite if a stranger attempts to take them,
o to trust their instincts; if someone makes them feel uncomfortable, they need to tell you or a trusted adult right away.
- Develop and discuss a safety plan for times when you’re out in large busy places like the mall or an amusement park:
o establish a meeting point that can be easily located – this could be the Ferris wheel at the amusement park, or the food court at the mall,
o if they are lost, tell them to seek out a security guard or a store employee,
o most importantly, tell them to NEVER leave with anyone else other than you or who they came with.
- Talk to your children about online safety. Teach your children what not to do or post online, on social media or while playing online video games. This includes never sharing their passwords online, not meeting someone they met through social media or an online videogame site, and to not enter any personal information into pop-up ads or re-directed websites.
More information can be found online at missing kids.ca.