Safety in retail establishments

Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
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With the holidays fast approaching, shopping is on just about everybody's to-do list.

Retail establishments generally do everything they can to keep their customers and their merchandise safe. Unfortunately, their efforts are sometimes not enough, especially when the wrong-doer is targeting a child.

Keep in mind there are no laws or regulations requiring retail stores to provide safety measures to help prevent child abductions, molestations or abuse.

It's important to remember these tips when shopping with your children:

• Do not rely on the security of the retail establishment: Usually there are only one or two security officers available, and they tend to look for individuals who appear guilty of theft, not kidnapping or harassment.

• Do not park your car where you are blocked in on both sides or could be easily trapped: Criminals in parking lots will look for areas where victims could be trapped or not seen clearly by other shoppers. Also, be sure to only park in well-lit areas.

• Don't be distracted by the surroundings and never lose site of your child: While there are many demands and distractions during shopping, don't let your child wander or leave him/her alone. Take them with you to try on clothes, accompany them to the bathroom, and so on.

• Avoid large crowds: Easier said than done, but remember, it is easy to become distracted or to get separated in large crowds. It is also much easier for thieves to pick pockets.

Don Keenan, founder of the Keenan's Kids Foundation, has published a book on child safety titled, 365 Ways to Keep Kids Safe, which is available at www.balloonpress.com or at www.amazon.com. All proceeds benefit the Keenan's Kids Foundation.