As a parent, regardless of the age of you children, you are ALWAYS concerned about the Safety and wellbeing of your children.
I typically try to keep my posts on the GDI Insurance Blog focused on topics involving Risk Management and Insurance, but safety (particularly that of child safety) happens to be one of both my and GDI Insurance’s highest social concerns, and as such I have decided to share what I learned in my Turlock Sunrise Rotary meeting this morning. It is my hope that as both a soon-to-be stepparent and concerned citizen in the Turlock community and its surrounding areas that all persons, parents or not, be aware and cognizant of issues involving safety, and specifically those issues that pertain to the safety of children.
SAFETY EDUCATION MATERIALS (ARE Available)
I and my fellow Rotarians were privileged to be introduced to and learn from local educator and author of a very informative children’s safety book, “What Should You Do?”, Melinda Reynolds Tripp. Tripp’s book provides talking points via a circular style curriculum which provides parents and teachers the tools and techniques to inform their children and students of what to do when approached by a stranger or any other bad situation. Her motto is, “No, Go and Tell”, which when interpreted means for the child to say no to the potential abductor or other bad situation and then go and tell someone they trust – A apparently simple motto which can provide a profound impact. She also suggests that parents sit around the dinner table and practice having their children accurately describe different people so that they can be prepared to articulate and convey pertinent information to authorities should something bad happen.
Tripp also speaks and consults with educational and community organizations, performing both assembly style informational presentations for children and adults, and consults those organizations that are concerned with improving the level of safety they provide for the children under their watch.
SAFETY LEAVING EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES (Sports, Clubs, Etc.)
This morning’s informative session reminded me of a requirement my fellow coach has for the players of our Under 12 year old boys’ soccer team. My fellow coach happens to be in law enforcement and supervises offenders and thus has a heightened awareness for safety. He implemented a requirement that no child will be released to leave practice until their parent or guardian comes and identifies themselves and the child has accepted to go with them. Following the first practice and meeting the parents, we simply require that we are able to identify the parent’s face prior to releasing the child in order to ward off any potential abduction.
To my utter amazement, we actually have had a parent let us know that they are not too fond of the idea that they must get out of the car for us to release their child. But to that effect, we must all think about how easy it would be for an abductor to stalk a child, find out what type of car their parents drive and park in front of practice in a similar vehicle, and then honk the horn for the child to get in, and then take off. Many children do not pay much attention to the details of the vehicle(s) their parent(s) drive and with most vehicles having tint on their rear windows that makes it relatively easy for an abductor to conceal themselves prior to the child entering the vehicle.
FINGERPRINT & DNA KITS (A Good Idea)
GDI Insurance recently hosted its first Community Safety Saturday event where we along with a number of local law enforcement, medical, and various other safety focused organizations provided free awareness and informational items to attendees. One of our partners was the Klaas Kids Foundation who graciously provided free Child Identification Cards, DNA and Fingerprint kits to parents, free of charge. This fantastic organization attends a number of events throughout the year where they provide this same service and I implore ALL parents to participate in such programs. The DNA and fingerprint information is not saved in or submitted to any database and the only DNA swab is given to the parents for safe keeping.
I know that looking back on my childhood these types of issues didn’t seem to be on the top of everyone’s minds as they seem to be today, and I just hope that we can keep them on the top of every parent's mind for the sake of their children and the children of others.
From myself and the rest of the staff here at GDI Insurance in Turlock, we ask that everyone keep safety dialogues open and have regular discussions with your children regarding what to do in precarious situations.
Thank you and have a safe day.
Matthew Davis MBA, AAI