Do you know where your child is?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 14, 2005

Stop right where you are.

At this very moment, do you know exactly where your child is?

As the weather warms up, I’m increasingly amazed with the number of young children, some under the age of five, seen playing and riding bikes throughout neighborhoods without an adult in sight.

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Don’t get me wrong, as a parent I know that as much as we like to think we’re doing a great job keeping an eye on our children, we don’t always succeed. I even sympathize for the Suffolk family recently in the news because their unsupervised toddler venturing into the street. Instead of initially rushing to judgment as many have, I thought what a job it must be to keep up with seven children. Yes, locks should do the trick.

Let’s face it-we live in extreme times. Indeed, unsafe times, particularly for our most precious gems, our children.

As parents and caretakers of children, I think it’s time we regroup for the protection of children everywhere. We must be more vigilant than ever when it comes to our children’s safety.

Last Sunday, the News-Herald’s focus was missing person cases, particularly teens. What we’ve found is that in most cases here parents have been able to breathe a sign of relief within 24 to 48 hours upon their return. But some parents are not that fortunate-just recall some recent headlines, in part, involving child abductions and murders in Florida.

In Suffolk because we don’t hear of cases like this, it’s typical to become subconsciously complacent believing this could never happen here.

While my 10-year-old daughter finds me quite overprotective, I insist that an adult be within sight of her at all times. It’s not enough to just have another child with her. Unfortunately, predators will strike at a pair, just as easily as one. And there are things we can teach our kids to defend themselves should they fall into such a trap. For one, we cannot stress enough to children not to stop and talk to strangers.

Michael Reagan’s column below also poses an interesting train of thought about parents and they role they often play when children become victims of crime.

If this column serves no other purpose, I hope as parents we’ll consider that our kids could be somewhere we’re not aware of and inadvertently in the hands of potential danger if we don’t tighten our grip.

This is cause for an action plan, especially for working parents who must often rely on others to care for their children. First and foremost, we have to reinforce to our children what our expectations are, such as never venturing off alone without a caretaker or parent.

This stream of consciousness may seem totally extreme, but the thousands of parents nationwide who don’t know if they’ll see their children again probably wouldn’t think so.

Luefras Robinson is the managing editor of the News-Herald. She can be reached at 934-9613 or e-mail her at