By Samuetta Hill Drew
Over the recent months I have been sickened by disturbing news reports of the deaths of innocent young children at the hands of adult predators. The two most recent repulsive events are Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney here in Birmingham, and last week Faye Swetlik in Cayce, South Carolina who was also abducted while playing in the front yard.
Just these two events alone (even though there are countless others unfortunately), makes one think about the levels of evil that plagues our society today. So, it appears necessary to revisit this topic again. Because of the serious nature of this topic, it will be covered over the next two weeks.
Where we can’t solve all the ills of the world, there are some prudent safety measures which, if practiced, consistently can lessen the number of these abduction crimes. It does always require adults staying aware and alert. Just a momentary glance looking away or a few steps out of sight can mean the difference between the life and death of a child.
This article is not meant to make parents, grandparents, guardians or other adults paranoid, merely aware of the importance to practice certain safety measures whether your child likes it or not. As an adult you should have the final say so, not a small child whose reasoning and maturity does not equal yours. So, let’s get started on highlighting some of these safety measures.
Keep in mind that most abductors don’t usually fit the stereotypical profile of a scary, creepy stranger or dirty old man and now women. Their motives are often sexual, and most are not true strangers. They target children and seek their confidence by developing a causal relationship with them. Family abductors makeup most kidnappers, as in a custody battle.
Therefore, it is essential that you know where your children are and know who they are always with. Knowing where they are is step one, the next step is to make sure they are being supervised by a responsible adult and the last step to this scenario is making sure they are in close proximity of the supervising adult. The adult should not be somewhere across the street, around the corner, up the street, etc.
Never leave your child alone in a public place, car, or stroller. If your child has a keen sense of curiosity and a knack for wandering off it may be necessary to hold him or her by the hand, place him/her inside a shopping cart while grocery shopping or other means to ensure some way to maintain physical contact. Never ask a stranger to hold your baby for any reason, even for an instant.
When hiring a childcare provider make sure you check their references. Ask a family member or friend for recommendations. You don’t want to hire a childcare provider who doesn’t practice good sound safety measures and leaves the child(ren) alone in the house or outside.
As the adult you always have the responsibility to Keep an Eye on Safety for your child or grandchild.