Tips to keep your children safe, in light of April Tinsley case

April Marie Tinsley was abducted and found murdered in early April 1988. Law enforcement authorities today arrested John D. Miller, 59, of Grabill, in connection with Tinsley's death. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)

Although child abductions are not a common occurrence, it is important to remind parents and children how to stay safe, be cautious, and avoid situations where abduction can occur. SCAN, Inc. (Stop Child Abuse and Neglect) has provided a list of key points for parents and children to help keep kids safe.

• Tell your child to run away and scream if someone follows them or tries to force them into a car.

• Internet safety must be a priority. Be aware of your child’s internet activities and remind them that they should never give out personal information or post identifying information or photos online.

• Reassure your child that it is ok to tell you if a trusted adult or stranger asks personal questions, exposes themselves, or makes your child feel uneasy.

• It is important for parents to know key information about their children including, height, weight, and eye color as well as carry a clear, recent picture of their child.

• Never leave your child unattended in a car or stroller.

• Avoid dressing your child in clothing with their name on it.

• Choose caregivers wisely – make sure to check references. If you’ve arranged for someone different to pick up your child from school or daycare, make sure your child and the school or childcare facility are aware.

• Make sure your younger children know their names, address, phone number (including area code), and who to call in an emergency. It is also important that your children know your name and family members names as well and not just “mommy” and “daddy” or “grandma” and “grandpa”. Review how to call 911.

• If your child is old enough to stay home alone, make sure they know to keep the doors locked and to never tell anyone who knocks or calls that they are home alone.

• Take an active role in your child’s activities and make sure you know how to find or contact them at all times.

• Check websites for registered offenders in your neighborhood or areas where your child frequents. Talk to your child about why these people should be avoided.

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