Women’s Center Update: Protecting your children | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Women’s Center Update: Protecting your children

Karla Aguila, Tribune correspondent

Child abduction and child abuse are recent topics that have been in the new. Every year, thousands of children are abused and reported missing all over the country. In regard to kidnapping, some child will be found and returned home safely, but several will not. Child abduction and abuse are devastating tragedies, which hurt parents and children and have an effect on all of us. The South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center would like to offer some tips on how to keep your children safe from abuse and abduction.

As a parent or caretaker of a child, it is important to know where your children are at all times. Never leave children unattended in cars, parks and grocery stores, not even for a minute. Take photographs of your children at least four times a year. Make note of birthmarks or other distinctive features. Have fingerprints taken of your children. Teach your children their full names, your full name, address and telephone number. Teach them how to use the phone in case of an emergency to call you, a trusted adult or the police. Have a secret password with your kids in case anyone other than you was to pick them up. Tell them not to go with anyone who doesn’t know the secret password, regardless if it is a police officer, nurse or friend of the family. Teach your kids at an early age the difference between good touches, bad touches and confusing touches. For example, tell them no one, whether it is a trusted adult or not, has the right to touch them in the parts of their bodies that are covered by a bathing suit. Teach them three basic rules in case someone is bathing them: Say no, get way and tell someone. In addition, explain that sometimes they have to yell to attract attention. Talk to your kids about the trusted adults they could tell if they had a problem. Teach them that it is OK to say no to adults if they are feeling scared or harassed. For your older children, tell them not to ever admit that they are alone, to not give any personal information over the phone and to never open the door when they are by themselves. Teach them Internet safety and have a list of rules that they have to follow when browsing the Net. Again, tell them not to give any personal information and to not send any pictures of themselves. If someone sends them inappropriate pictures, save them to report it. The most important thing you can do it listen to your children and believe them. If they disclose any type of abuse, thank them for confiding in you and don’t scold them. When following all these safety tips, explain to your children about child abuse and about child abduction in a calm and simple way.

For more information on child abuse and safety tips contact the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center at 2941 Lake Tahoe Blvd. The office number is (530) 544-2118; 24-hour crisis line is (530) 544-4444; and Web site is http://www.sltwc.org. The building is financed with a low-cost loan through the Rural Community Assistance Corporation.

Karla Aguila is the Hispanic Outreach Coordinator and an advocate at the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center.n

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