Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Find     
Site Image
News
Tips for How Parents Can Keep Children Safe While Shopping and Traveling This Holiday Season
12/05/2011
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
Public Relations Department
(703) 837-6111
media@ncmec.org
 
Sergeant Gregg Withers
Oregon State Police Major Crimes Section
(503) 934-0163
gregg.withers@state.or.us
 
Julie Willard
Missing Children Clearinghouse
(503) 934-0188
julie.willard@state.or.us

Parents need to be careful not to let their guard down or become distracted while traveling or attending public functions during the 2011 holiday season. The Oregon State Police Missing Children Clearinghouse and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) urge parents to consider what they should be telling their children to keep them safe while shopping and traveling this holiday season.
 
Parents need to talk with children about safety before heading out to a busy shopping mall or boarding a plane, train, or bus this holiday season. Crowds are greater this time of year and children may easily become separated from their parents, causing confusion and fear. If that should happen, parents need a plan and children should know what to do.
 
Many adults and children don't know what to do if they lose each other in a public place or are faced with other unsafe situations. That's why the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the Oregon State Police Missing Children Clearinghouse is offering advice on how to remain safe and avoid panic and potential dangers.
 
ALWAYS:
  • Keep children with you at all times while shopping.
  • Accompany and supervise children in public facilities, including restrooms.
  • Have a plan in case you become separated, including a pre-designated spot to meet.
  • Teach children to look for people who can help, such as a uniformed security officer, salesperson or mother with children.
  • Remind children to remain in the area where they become separated.
 
NEVER:
  • Dress children in clothing that displays their first or last names, prompting unwelcome attention from people looking for an opportunity to start a conversation with your child.
  • Leave children in toy stores or public facilities expecting supervision from store personnel.
  • Go shopping or attend a public event with a child if you feel you're going to be distracted. Make other arrangements for child care ahead of time.
  • Allow younger children to shop on their own to purchase surprise gifts for friends or family members.
  • Drop off older children at a mall or public place without agreeing on a clear plan for picking them up, including: where, what time, and what to do in case of a change in plans.
 
If your child is flying or riding a train or bus alone this holiday season, NCMEC urges parents to remember the following travel safety tips:
  • When you make reservations for your child, specify that the child will be traveling alone.
  • Whenever possible, book a non-stop flight or direct route. Avoid booking the last flight of the day.
  • Plan to visit the airport, train or bus terminal prior to departure. Let your child know what to expect, so the experience will not be so intimidating.
  • In case of delay or cancellation, remain at the station or gate until the train, plane or bus departs.
  • Make sure children travel with proper identification and parents or guardian contact information.
  • Always have a back-up plan for the person or people meeting the plane at the destination, in case they are delayed.
  • Encourage children not to become too friendly with other passengers or to reveal any personal information.
 
Additional safety tips can be found at www.missingkids.com.
 
***
 
About the Oregon State Police Missing Children Clearinghouse:
The mission of the Missing Children Clearinghouse is to receive and distribute information on missing children to local law enforcement agencies, school districts, state and federal agencies, and the public. In 1989, the Oregon legislature mandated that OSP establish and maintain a missing children clearinghouse. The goal of the Missing Children Clearinghouse is to streamline the system, serving child victims and their families by providing assistance to law enforcement agencies and the public. To learn more, visit our website at http://www.oregon.gov/OSP/MCC/about_us.shtml.
 
About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children:
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1984. Designated by Congress to serve as the nation's clearinghouse, the organization has operated the toll-free 24-hour national missing children's hotline which has handled more than 3,472,740 calls. It has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 169,840 children. The organization's CyberTipline has handled more than 1,256,960 reports of child sexual exploitation and its Child Victim Identification Program has reviewed and analyzed more than 58,852,630 child pornography images and videos. The organization works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice's office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. To learn more about NCMEC, call its toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or visit its web site at www.missingkids.com.