Advice Column, Experts, Missing Children South Africa, Parenting

Holiday safety tips

  • Missing Children South Africa
  • Category Advice Column, Experts, Missing Children South Africa, Parenting

MCSA works closely with the South African Police Service and other government bodies as well as other NGO’s and private initiatives, to assist in the recovery and safe return of any missing person. Missing Children South Africa first tier is that of an emergency response service and they have a national helpline for incident reports and callers are advised on which immediate steps to take in logging the incident officially so as to ensure efficient and timeous action. Secondly, by activating a vast national social and media network MCSA distributes flyers of missing children, create mass awareness of the individual which maximises the chances of that child being recovered. MCSA’s Emergency Number is 072 647 7464 and is operational 24/7 every day of the week.

DO NOT WAIT 24 HOURS BEFORE REPORTING YOUR CHILD MISSING:

Parents must NOT wait for 24 hours to report a child that has gone missing. This is a myth, and if a child is reported missing immediately, our chances of recovering that child in the first ‘golden 2 – 3 hours’ is far more successful. There is no waiting period to report a person as missing. Go to your local SAPS (South African Police Station) and insist that they open up a ‘Missing Child’ case. It is very important to get the case number, as well as the Warrant Officer who will be dealing with the case. Then get hold of Missing Children South Africa immediately, so that we can create a ‘Missing’ flyer, and post it across our social media platforms.

Teach your children these important numbers:

SAPS|POLICE: 10111 

MISSING CHILDREN SOUTH AFRICA: 072 647 7464

CELL PHONE HELP: 112

SAPS CRIMESTOP: 086 001 0111

CHILDLINE SOUTH AFRICA: 080 005 5555

GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE: 080 042 8428

HUMAN TRAFFICKING HOTLINE: 080 022 2777

Our website www.missingchildren.org.za acts as an emergency report facility, as well as being MCSA’s platform for informational and educational material with regards to Child Safety. 

The service MCSA offers to the community and government is invaluable and as you can imagine we certainly have our work cut out for us. We provide our services free of charge to anyone who needs us. Sadly we don’t necessarily enjoy the same privilege for our needs and our financial requirements quite often outweigh our resources! We rely solely on the goodwill of individuals and corporations for financial support – funding remains MCSA’s biggest challenge.

You can assist us now by clicking here https://missingchildren.org.za/donate/ and donating – this will be deeply appreciated and is much needed. Education plays an incredibly vital role in the life of Missing Children South Africa, and all funds received is utilised to further MCSA’s educational program; ‘Tips for Children’ and ‘Tips for Parents’ which promotes Child Safety. The education is targeted to all the vulnerable and orphaned children, and also children with disabilities. The education is also shared with parents, guardians and the families who take care of these children. The education focuses on not only the dangers, but also the solutions with regards to what to do to keep children safe, and especially what not do.   

HOLIDAY SAFETY TIPS

  1. Before embarking on your holiday, take the time to teach your children their own names, as well as their parent’s names and mobile numbers. DO NOT share your holiday plans with anyone on social networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
  2. Teach your children the ‘BUDDY SYSTEM’, which is always to take a friend with them – don’t go anywhere alone. This way, they can help each other when they are in trouble.
  3. Create an exclusive family holiday password, and always ensure you pick your own children up. If for any reason you have to send someone to pick them up, the person should know the password, otherwise your children should not go with them as they then know that you have not sent the person to pick them up.
  4. Make sure you know where the police station and hospital is for emergencies, and that your child also knows in case of an emergency. Make an effort to also ask locals which areas to avoid. 
  5. Always keep a recent photograph of your child with you, especially if you are in an unfamiliar place like a holiday destination. Should you have an emergency situation you have the photograph ready.
  6. If you suspect a child or person is missing, please report it immediately to the nearest police station, so action can be taken. There is NO waiting period to report a missing person. DO NOT WAIT 24 HOURS to report your child missing, especially during the holiday season. 
  7. Even though the holidays are a time for relaxing, make an effort to familiarise yourself with your surroundings and know where your child is at all times, and whom they are with. Teach them to not respond or take anything from a person they do not know.
  8. Be wary of ‘new’ friends – often Human Trafficking recruitment is done by other Human Trafficked victims coerced into trapping new victims. Children should never play alone in the streets, on the beach or alone in the front yard without adult supervision – it is simply just too dangerous
  9. Teach your children that they should never go with people they do not trust or accept lifts from strangers, even if it’s a harmless lift to the local beach, the movies or to a shopping centre.
  10. Going to shopping malls over the holiday period can be a nightmare. Dress your child in brightly coloured clothes to make it easier to spot them, and be sure to remember what they are wearing. ALWAYS accompany your children to the bathrooms, and never let them go alone. 
  11. Talk to your kids before a family outing. Make a rule that you must always be able to see them and they must always be able to see you. With older children, agree on a designated ‘meeting place’ ahead of time, in case you become separated for any reason – this is then where they must meet you.
  12. Before heading out to the beach, a play park, a shopping mall or any public place that’s going to be crowded, speak to your children about the ground rules; no running off, stay in sight, don’t swim on your own and definitely no talking to or walking off with strangers. Make sure that you your children have memorised your mobile number.
  13. Don’t treat public facilities as a ‘convenient babysitter’. Do not leave your children alone at the beach, video arcades, movie theatres, play areas, or other public places. Predators are known to look for unsupervised kids.
  14. When you get to the beach or any public place, find out where the nearest information desk is and make sure you tell your children that that will be the common meeting spot if they lost. You can make the meeting spot at the lifeguard station, or anywhere that’s easily visible. Make sure you instruct your child to not approach just any adult for help, but to wait at the designated meeting spot until you or a family member gets there – and to only go with those who know the exclusive family holiday password.

Click on our Report Now button, and complete the form: https://missingchildren.org.za/report/.

Remember that if your child returns home, you should go to the Police station to report that your child is safe and let MSCA know that your child has returned home safely.

Missing Children South Africa’s social media platforms are:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/MissingChildrenSouthAfrica/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/072MISSING

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/missingchildrensa/

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