By the San Diego Police Department Neighborhood Policing Resource Team
This paper contains tips on child safety and security for parents and guardians. They are simple, common sense suggestions that will help keep your children from being an easy target for a criminal. They deal with caring for your children in various situations, teaching your children how to be safe in various situations, protecting your children’s identities, selecting a child care center or family child care home, selecting a nanny or babysitter for home child care, and reporting child abuse.
Additional tips on home security, vehicle security, vacation safety and security, personal safety and security, senior safety and security, preventing crimes against businesses, preventing fraud and identity theft, reporting crime and suspicious activities, reporting suspicious activities for terrorism prevention, reporting disorder and other problems, obtaining crime information, dealing with homeless people, and starting a Neighborhood Watch program are available in the Crime Prevention and Education section of the SDPD website at
CARING FOR YOUR CHILDREN IN VARIOUS SITUATIONS
- Know where your children are and whom they are with at all times. Make sure that they return home promptly at appointed times.
- Have them check in with you when they arrive at or depart from a particular location and when there is a change of plans.
- Never let your young children go anywhere alone. Make sure another trusted adult is present if you cannot.
- Make sure your older children, who have more freedom, always go out with a friend and that they fully understand all safety rules.
- Know what your children wear every day. Avoid putting their names on the outside of their clothes. Children may respond more readily to a stranger who calls them by name.
- Never leave your child alone in a vehicle, restroom, store, playground, or other public place.
- Have your child play in a supervised area with friends you know.
- Let your child know where you will be at all times and how to get in touch with you.
- Keep a record of your children’s friends and their phone numbers.
- Post a list of important phone numbers near your phone. Include the numbers of your work phone, a neighbor or trusted friend to call for help in a non-emergency, a family member or trusted friend to call in an emergency, family doctor, etc.
- Keep an updated information file on your children. Include pictures, fingerprints, footprints, physical characteristics, identifying marks, medical and dental records, etc.
- Find out why your child doesn’t want to be with someone or go somewhere. The reason may be more than a personality conflict or a lack of interest.
- Notice when anyone shows an unusual amount of interest in your child or gives him or her gifts. Ask your child why he or she is acting that way.
- Before leaving your child alone at home make sure he or she is not afraid to be alone and is able to follow your instructions about dealing with various situations that might arise.
- Have a way to contact your children if you will be late in picking them up, meeting them somewhere, coming home, etc.
- Attend your children’s activities so you can observe how other adults who are involved interact with them. Talk to the person in charge if you become concerned about anyone’s behavior.
- Make time every day to discuss the day’s events with your children. Encourage them to tell you about anything that makes them uncomfortable, or scares or confuses them. Listen to what they say and never underestimate their fears or concerns. Show them that you are always concerned about their safety and security. Effective communication is the most important factor in child safety.