With children out of school for the summer, the time they spend unattended or under the supervision of others increases. David Almeida, a member of the Licensed Private Detective’s Association of Massachusetts (LPDAM) and president of Bay State Detective Agency, share his expert tips for keeping your toddler out of harm’s way this summer.
1. Teach your children to avoid danger. They should be taught to recognize danger and know what to do in a threatening situation. There are a number of children’s organizations that provide education on this.
2. Never allow your children to go places alone. A young child should always be in the care of an adult family member or other trusted adult. Older children (including teenagers) should be accompanied by a friend.
3. Your children are your number one priority. Make it a household policy to know where your children are and who they are with. Be involved in your child’s life and make it your business to know what your child is doing. It’s a good parenting skill.
4. Discuss stranger danger with your children. Be sure your children understand this. It’s crucial.
5. Follow-up on your discussions by putting it into practice with role playing and other techniques children will understand and appreciate. There are several children’s organizations that will assist with this.
6. Consider installing an alarm system in your home. You may decide to get a dog in addition to this or as an alternative.
7. Find ways to include your child in implementing your ‘safety plan.’ Children will appreciate the responsibility of helping to secure their home.
8. It’s recommended you have a family member or friend who is designated as an emergency coordinator in the event that something happens. Emergencies can be overwhelming to the people involved and it can be difficult to make critical decisions in these times.
9. When hiring household employees, get good references and conduct background checks. Always be skeptical and ask questions. You need to know who will be in your house and who will be taking care of your children. Also, ask daycare centers how they screen their employees.
10. Limit the amount and type of information others have access to about you and your family. Simple things you can do include using shredders, renting a PO Box or private mailbox, getting a nonpublished telephone number, and also being careful about giving out personal identifying information over the phone and internet.
11. People often become victims because criminals become familiar with their patterns. To avoid this, try changing your routines and habits from time to time. For example, try taking different routes to and from your child’s daycare.
12. If something looks suspicious or out of place, don’t hesitate to report the person or event to the police. Better to be safe than sorry.
About the author:
David Almeida is a member of the Licensed Private Detective’s Association of Massachusetts (LPDAM) and has been the president of Bay State Detective Agency since 1992. He began his career working for private attorneys doing skip traces, asset searches, and civil litigation support. He also worked for the Public Defenders Office in Boston’s Suffolk County in criminal defense investigations for felonies such as rape, robbery and murder. Almeida received a degree in Criminal Justice from Southern Vermont College and currently lives in Beverly, MA.
Additional information can be found at www.baystatedetective.com