Back to School: Safety

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While so many children and parents are preparing for school with supplies and that first day outfit, it is also important to think about safety.

News 12 spoke with Callahan Walsh, of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, to discuss the types of dangers parents should look out for.

"We know at the National Center we have been analyzing attempted abductions for over a decade, and the most likely time a child would be abducted would be when they are walking to or from school or a school-related activity," says Walsh. "We know 88% of the time when a child was able to get away it was because of something they did on their own volition, so something that they did that was proactive, so kicking screaming, drawing attention to the situation that is why it is so important for parents to talk to their kids, start young and have continued ongoing conversations with their kids about these safety measures."  

Walsh recommends four rules to teach children when it comes to personal safety.

The first rule is to always check first.

"So that's if you are accepting anything from an adult you don't know or going anywhere without your parent, there is a change of plans, check first, that is rule number one," says Walsh.

Number two is to take a friend or buddy because there is power in numbers, according to Walsh.

The third rule is to tell a trusted adult if someone makes you feel sad, scared, confused or uncomfortable.

Last, the fourth rule is to make children aware that it is OK to say no if something doesn't make them feel safe. Walsh says another big talk to have with children is about being safe online. 

"I tell parents three things. First, understand the technology and the best way to do that is to get on there themselves. Download that social media platform that your child is using create an account and friend your child it is a great way to not only understand the technology, but see what they are doing as well. Secondly, I tell parents to set ground rules and stick to them especially if there has been bad behavior in the past. And third is have ongoing conversations about safety," says Walsh.

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