Monday, 6 February 2012


A little boy of 8 years residing in Salmiah, who was out playing, went missing on Saturday evening from 6.30pm, causing much pain and anguish to his parents and shocked the community. There were search parties looking for the child the whole night and next morning. Fortunately 15 hours after the child went missing, he was found at a local police station next morning, and the child is back with his parents. ‘I am glad I got my son back alive’, said the mother. One of the saddest things, I have heard a mother say is what this little boy’s mother said, ‘When your child goes missing, you go through hell’.

Young children are curious by nature, it’s natural to want to explore the neighbourhood while playing or wander off sometimes with friends or even alone. This poses quite a danger as the child can

* Get lost and not find its way home and get scared
* A stranger with ill intent can take him away
* The could fall victim to child theft/molestation/kidnap
* He/she could get into an accident

A lot of children go missing each year, sometimes they are found, sometimes they aren’t. Parents of young children who play together, can take turns to go down each day, to keep a watchful eye to prevent the child from wandering off, or stranger approaching them , or running across on the road to get a ball. Little children can be very trusting towards older children and older people because they are innocent and unaware of the cruel and terrible things that happens in the world around them. As much as we would love to teach little children life skills, make them independent, do it with awareness, always keeping the safety of the child in mind. When a little child makes a mistake or does something, don't be harsh with your words, or scare the child with severe punishment, that a sense of fear arises in the child, which makes him want to run away from home. Parents could discuss and implement certain safety rules at home and make sure the child abides by it. Ensure you spend quality time with your child. Take your child out more often; spend time as a family. Engage him sports and hobbies along with other children. 

* Keep the main door locked and under no circumstance allow the child to open the door and go off to play without informing/asking the parent.

* When someone rings the door bell and you are busy, the child might run to open the door. It’s not always a known person who could be at the door. It’s best if parents or older children answer the door.

* Never let your child play alone outside without the presence of a trusted adult. 

* Make sure when you are out in the Mall or shopping centres, or amidst a crowd , your child is always with you. Your child could get attracted to a toy or something interesting it sees and walk away from you not realizing he could get lost.

* Not to talk to strangers at all and to inform you immediately if a stranger tried to approach him.

* Give clear and strict instructions not to take a lift from a stranger while while returning home from school and to stick to the arrangement you have made – like you picking up your child or the child returns home by school bus.

* If you are a working parent, ensure a friend, a neighbor or a nanny sees your child off while to the school bus in the morning and receive the child when it returns.

* If you are willing to have your child sleep over at a friend’s place, ensure that you know every one in that house your child will be staying and give them safety instructions for your child.

* Don’t send your little child to the nearby shop to get you something since you're busy. It can be dangerous. Do it yourself or call the shop and have your things delivered or accompany your child to the shop and you both could chose and buy together.

* Never send your child alone in the elevator.

* If your child wants to go to a neighbour's house or the neighbouring building or nearby open grounds to play, don’t send him alone thinking its close by. Accompany your child, ensure there is an adult present while children are playing and pick up your child when play time gets over.

* When you correct your child, explain to him why you are correcting him and that you love him and no matter how angry or sad he feels, he should not run away from home or leave the house.

* Explain to your child what is right kind of touching and wrong kind of touching and not to allow strangers to touch him and to let you know if he is uncomfortable around any adult known or unknown.

* Let your child memorize 2 or 3  important phone numbers/mobile number of parents, relatives/close family friends so he call during an emergency.

* The child should be told that in case he is lost and can't find his way home, to get into a near by shop and make a phone call to the parents, friends or relative.

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