It’s amazing what moms accomplish with their hands full with kids, diaper bags, snacks, and toys! Sadly, there are individuals who would try and take advantage of your vulnerability.
For example, have you ever: Received unwanted attention from an unfamiliar woman during your pregnancy? Felt a little worried while pumping gas with your baby in the car? Become uneasy when loading your children and groceries in your car at night?
To help keep you and your kids safe, experts at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (MissingKids.com) offer the following tips:
- Take your partner or someone you trust to all of your appointments when pregnant.
- Ask about the security procedures where you plan to give birth.
- At the hospital, keep your baby with you at all times; have your family or a friend accompany your baby out of your room for any procedures if you can’t go along.
- Install a home alarm system and learn how to use it.
- Take candid, color photos of your kids’ full face every 6 months.
- Teach your children their name, parents’ names, phone number and address.
- Use the highest privacy settings when posting photos on social networking sites.
- Vary your daily routine; choose different times and routes to handle errands.
- Keep a current emergency contacts list, including family members and friends.
- Never meet new acquaintances alone, in private areas, or in your home.
- Never leave an infant or toddler alone at home, or in the care of anyone younger than 14.
- Don’t post signs or balloons outside your home or car announcing a new baby.
Out and About
- Check references and criminal backgrounds of your in-home babysitter or daycare staff.
- Have a ‘trial’ run before leaving any sitter alone with your children; make an unscheduled visit to the daycare center.
- Wear a cross-body handbag or backpack-style diaper bag.
- Use valet parking when possible.
- Scan parking lots before entering a building and before returning to your car; ask a security guard to escort you if you feel uncomfortable.
- Never leave your infant or toddler in the car alone—ever. In many states, you can be arrested for this.
- Lock the doors when pumping gas; crack a window for air when children are inside.
- Set your purse on the passenger seat floor; keep your keys in your hands at all times.
- Use a tether/harness to keep your child attached to you, especially at malls or theme parks.
- Dress children in brightly colored clothing and take a photo of them when you’re at public events or theme parks. Put your name and phone number in their pocket.
- Be cautious of unsolicited help with your infant or toddler; especially in public restrooms.
- Beware of anyone you don’t know well who shows a great deal of attention to your children or gives them gifts.
Also read: Buckle Up: Car Seat Safety