Thursday, April 10, 2008

Keep our kids safe!

Today's post is about child safety and a bit serious, because child safety IS serious and very important to me. I hope it's important to you, too!

My mother and I are both black belts and both teach Taekwondo at her school here in Seattle. We're currently preparing for our upcoming Women's Safety & Self Defense Seminar next Saturday (live in the area? the seminar is FREE- ask me for more details!) and I was thinking I would like to share some statistics and safety tips in regards to kids.

Did you know...

  • Around 60 percent of all child murder-abductions are at the hands of someone the child knew.
  • Nearly all non-murder abductions are committed by someone close to the child.
  • A non-family member abduction occurs approximately every 9 minutes in the United States.
  • Yearly there are around 800,000 child abductions in the United States
  • In about 3/4th of all murder abductions, the child is dead within 3 hours of the abduction.
  • About 100 children are murdered each year at the hands of stranger abductors.
The most important statistic:
  • Experts estimate between 75 to 90% of these tragedies could be avoided through better safety awareness.

So parents, now that I've scared you with some stats (a la Debbie Downer style, if you watch SNL you know what I'm talking about) here's our most important top three safety tips we stress in our classes:

1. Know what a stranger is. In our household, a stranger is "somebody we don't know very well". It's someone we have never had over for dinner. Yes, the kids will recognize and even join us while chatting after church with so-and-so. They know the checkout lady at the grocery store's name is Betty. But these are still strangers!

2. NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER! get into or even close to a stranger's car. Don't get near the car to see the new puppy, to take candy, to get an umbrella... even if the stranger has a gun pointed at you, DON'T GET INTO THAT CAR! We will never see you again.

3. Make a Password. Most abductions are by somebody the child knows (or knows of). It's not normal to have Daddy's coworker pick the kids up from work; is it? (remember #1? Definition of a stranger?!) Tell only the people who would be asked to pick the kids up from school your password, practice with the family (If they don't know the password, RUN AWAY!) And don't make your password your last name, the name of your pet, or your phone number. That's too easy.

My password growing up was "library". (of course, my mom doesn't remember that now, but I do!!) and the practice password we use with our Taekwondo students is "hot dog".


emily call said...

Thanks for the reminder. I remember our family password too from when I was a kid. Thanks for the idea on doing a Taekwondo paperclay sculpture.