GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Well, school is out and summer is an exciting time for kids in the Grand Rapids area. How will your child manage his/her time? Spending time at home alone or going to local parks with friends to swim or play ball? The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says there are ten things parents can do to keep their children safer this summer.
1) MAKE SURE your children know their full names, address, telephone numbers and how to use the telephone.
2) BE SURE children know what to do in case of emergency and how to use a cell phone or pager number.
3) REVIEW the rules with your children about whose homes they may visit and discuss boundaries of where they may and may not go in the neighborhood.
4) MAKE SURE children know to stay away from pools, creeks, or any body of water without adult supervision.
5) CAUTION children to keep the door and not to open the door or talk to anyone who comes to the door when they are home alone.
6) DON’T drop your children off at malls, movies, video arcades or parks. These aren’t safe places for kids to be alone. Make certain a responsible adult supervises your younger children at all times when they are outside and away from home.
7) TEACH your children in whose vehicle they may ride. Children should be cautioned to never approach any vehicle, occupied or not, unless accompanied by a parent or other trusted adult.
8) BE SURE children know their curfew and check in if they are going to be late. If children are playing outside after dark, they should wear reflective clothing and stay close to home.
9) CHOOSE babysitters carefully. Obtain references from family, friends, and neighbors. Many states now have registries for public access to check criminal history or sex-offender status. Observe the babysitters interaction with your children, and ask your children how they feel about the babysitter.
10) CHECK out camp and other summer programs before enrolling your children. See if a background screening check is completed on the individuals working with the children. Make sure there will be adult supervision of your children at all times, and make sure you are made aware of all activities and field trips offered by the camp or program.
Of course, child safety in Grand Rapids is paramount always, but especially in the summer season. Lets stay AWARE, INFORMED, and CONNECTED to keep our children safe!