JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - If you have plans to travel with the kids during an upcoming vacation, it's very important not let your guard down when it comes to keeping your kids safe.
The National Crime Prevention Council, home of McGruff the Crime Dog, has specific ways to help prevent your kids from becoming victims when away from home.
First, before you ever leave the house, you need to review your safety plan with your kids. Make sure they know what to do if you get separated. They should have your phone number and home address memorized, as well as the name or address of the place that you will be staying.
Next, log on to AlertID.com. This site and free app can be a parent's personal security system when traveling. First, it offers information about the area you plan to visit. For example, enter an address and a map shows sex offenders in the area. You can also access local crime information and register for alerts during your trip. It works for travel in all 50 states.
Keli Wilson with AlertID.com explained how one of the features can help. "
Snap a photo of your child, what they're wearing that day," Wilson said. "Put the information in our APP that asks you height, weight and more so it's stored on your smart phone and on our app. In the case of a missing child, God forbid, you would be able to send it immediately to authorities for a search to begin with no lost time."
When a child is missing, it's estimated that for every minute they're lost they are potentially a mile away. That's why finding them quickly is so crucial. Another tip from AlertID, dress your kids in bright colors. It will be easier to spot them and you will have an easier time remembering what they had on. Plus, when you're in a strange environment, make sure to re-warn your kids about stranger danger.
"If somebody tries to take them, they need to yell and scream this is not my mother, this is not my father. Someone is taking me and get away from them as quickly as possible," Wilson said. "even more important, they need to not put themselves in that situation. Teach them and remind them not get too close to a car if someone comes up and says I have a missing puppy or I have candy. Don't fall into those traps."
One more very important thing, Wilson said make sure to accompany to supervise children at all times, especially to public facilities and restrooms. If you have older children, enforce the buddy system and have a designated plan on where and when to meet.