Katy Texas News
Posted December 16, 2010
With the height of the holiday season approaching and school concluding for the semester, Katy ISD Police Department Chief Mark Hopkins wants to remind parents to not let their guard down or become distracted while shopping, attending public functions, or travelling this holiday break.
According to Chief Hopkins, â€œCrowds are much greater at public places during this time of year and children may easily become separated from their parents, causing confusion and fear. Parents and their children need a plan to know what to do each time they venture out.â€
Child safety is vital year round, but Christmastime is an especially important time for parents and children to pay attention to their surroundings and not let their guard down. â€œSome of our nearby shopping areas such as Katy Mills and Houston Premium Outlets are huge and easy to get disoriented in without a plan,â€ says Chief Hopkins.
Unfortunately, many adults and children do not know what to do if they lose each other in a public place or are faced with other unsafe situations. Chief Hopkins and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) are offering advice on how to stay safe, and avoid panic and potential dangers at crowded events.
- Keep children with you at all times while shopping.
- Accompany and supervise children in public facilities, including restrooms.
- Have a plan should you and your child become separated. Identify a pre-designated spot to meet before you head out.
- Teach you children to look for people who can help such as a uniformed police officer, a salesperson, or even another mother with children.
- Remind children to remain in the area where they become separated.
- Dress children in clothing such as t-shirts or jackets that display their first or last names, prompting unwelcome attention from people looking for an opportunity to start a conversation with your child.
- Never leave children in toy stores or other stores geared for young kids expecting supervision from store personnel.
- Allow younger children to shop on their own to purchase surprise gifts for family members or friends.
- 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.
- Most importantly, Chief Hopkins wants parents and children alike to remain alert and report suspicious incidents to local law enforcement. Often it is tips from observant residents, which greatly assist local law enforcement in combating unlawful activity, not only around the holidays, but also year-round.