Back-to-school time means stocking up on school supplies and getting your child new shoes. While those tasks are still essential, there are now additional preparations you must make.
I understand that it’s a difficult topic, but it’s something parents of children, including teenagers, have likely considered. Ensuring your child’s safety in case of an emergency, such as a school shooting, is crucial. Here is my advice on how to protect them in such situations.
For young kids, some parents place an AirTag or another tracker in their pocket or backpack (even though Apple states that they are not intended for people, they can still be effective). You might also want to consider putting one in the car if your child is old enough to drive.
But there’s more to consider, and I’ll guide you through it.
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This app is a must-download.
When your child is missing, authorities need a physical description, including height, weight, ethnicity, hair and eye color, to aid in their search. Additionally, they require photos, names, and any nicknames.
Providing all this information can be time-consuming. That’s where the FBI Child ID app comes in handy. Store your children’s information in the app so you can quickly provide it to authorities in case the worst happens. You can also send this information to police, security personnel, or other officials involved in the search for missing children.
You can add images from your phone’s library, cropping and zooming as needed. The app also provides tips on keeping children safe and what to do in the crucial first hours after a child goes missing.
The FBI assures that it does not collect or store any photos or information you enter into the app; the data remains on your phone until you send it to authorities.
I sincerely hope you never have to use this app, but if you do, you’ll be grateful you prepared in advance. It is compatible with both iPhones and Android devices.
Establish a secret communication method.
While most kids carry phones in their pockets, there may be situations where your child cannot make a phone call, or worse, they might have someone looking over their shoulder when they text.
Using a secret emoji can be a discreet alternative to a standard emergency call or text. It’s less obvious to others and conveys the message quickly.
Select an emoji that your family doesn’t commonly use, but avoid anything too obscure or hard to find. Exotic animals work well, as they are not typically used in daily conversations like smiley faces or hand gestures.
Once you’ve chosen a secret emoji, sit down with your kids and discuss the plan. Include the actions you’ll take if they ever need to use it. As a family, you may decide that if they send the emoji, you’ll call immediately and instruct them to come home.
Teach them about emergency modes.
Today’s smartphones come equipped with built-in emergency features that can be highly useful. If your child has a newer iPhone or Android device, it’s essential to set up the following features:
For iPhones 8 or later:
- Press and hold the side button and one of the volume buttons. The Emergency SOS slider will appear.
- Drag the slider to call emergency services. Alternatively, continue holding the side button and a volume button. After the countdown ends, your phone will call emergency services.
- Note that if you use the Emergency SOS feature, your designated contacts will receive a message indicating that you are experiencing an emergency. To set this up:
- Open the Health app and tap your profile picture > Medical ID.
- Select Edit, then scroll to Emergency Contacts.
- Tap the Add button, then add a contact and their relationship.
- Confirm your changes by tapping Done.
Android’s version of Emergency SOS works similarly, but you need to set it up in advance:
- Open the Settings app on your phone.
- Tap Safety & emergency > Emergency SOS.
These features can provide added security and peace of mind for both you and your child.