Vision Tactical –
Child abduction is an unfortunate and pervasive problem in South Africa.
However, organisations such as Missing Children South Africa (MCSA), which assists the South African Police Service (SAPS) in finding children who are reported missing, are shedding light on the issue by educating parents on how to ensure their children’s safety.
Below are some useful tips to make use of:
1) Make sure your children always tell you where they are going before heading out and inform you immediately about any change of plans.
2) Children must know their parents’ names and phone numbers by heart, while parents should have the numbers of good friends of their child.
3) Make sure your car is well maintained, this will help ensure your car doesn’t break down, which makes your children more vulnerable to kidnapping.
4) Children must always be vigilant about their surroundings, teach them to make a scene and draw attention if they think someone is following them, rather be safe than sorry.
5) When walking to your car, keep your child close at hand and be aware of your surroundings, checking to see if you’re being followed.
6) Plan your routes before driving with children and let somebody know what time they can expect you and at what destination.
7) If you are in a hijacking, don’t exit your vehicle before removing your child from the car seat. Calmly ask the hijackers if you can lift your child over the backseat back to the front seat so you can get out of the car together.
8) Children must adopt the “buddy system”. This means that they should always take a friend or friends along with them when going out without adult supervision, larger groups are safer and preferable.
9) You should teach your children about the dangers of social media, emphasise the importance of not revealing any important information online, including their phone number, address or location. They should also decline any online invitation to meet in person.
10) Make use of a family code word that your child can ask for if someone uses the pretext of “your parent asked me to fetch you”. If the person does not know the code word, then your child must know to not go with them.