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How Do We Keep Our Kids Safe From Predators?

A local news story of a kidnapped and murdered little girl has parents worried. Join us in our discussion on keeping kids safe with this week's Moms Talk.

My poor children will be 25 before I will be OK with them wanting to walk down the street alone again.

The Alpharetta Moms Council is a group of local moms who chat each week about a topic that has either been sent in to us by a reader who clicked the email the author button or is being asked by one of us. We all give our thoughts and opinions on the subject matter and then turn the table to our Patch readers. We want to hear what you, the reader thinks as well.

This week, parents all over Georgia and possible quite a bit further away have been startled. In such a frightening time, parents are scared to death for their children. This prompts the discussion this week about safety.

Q: How do we keep our children safe from predators?

A:Times have changed since my husband and I grew up.  Our parents sent us out to play after getting home from school with a curfew of when the street lights come on you need to be home.  Nowadays I am overly cautious when it comes to our two little girls.  Our girls know that the front yard is off limits to them without adult supervision which means no bikes or scooters unless mom and dad are available!  We have a fenced in backyard with a locked gate where our girls play.  Our 7 year old used to tell me that she was "big enough" to ride her bike down our street without my watchful eye, but she happened to see the news about the missing 7-year-old girl in Canton and now our daughter realizes that she may be big enough but she is not safe enough to ride alone.-Lori Salata, mom of 2

A: How to keep our kids safe - that is a tough one.  I once asked an older friend if you ever stop worrying about your children.  His sons were in their late 20s at the time, one married with a child and one engaged.  He told me that you never stop worrying.  They are always your children and we always want to keep them safe.  Unfortunately, we have to let them out of the house.

So what do we do to keep them safe?  We talk to them from the time they are small with the rules.  "Don't talk to strangers."  "Don't go places without a buddy." "Call us anywhere, anytime." "You know who our friends and family are.  Only trust them.". "Always trust police officers." And then you just pray.
Yesterday was six months from when the small, blonde student at Indiana University disappeared from the face of the earth.  As we left our small, blonde daughter at Indiana University for her last year in August,  my feelings were no different then when I let her ride her bicycle around the block for the first time.  You hope and pray that she's safe and that she's not in the wrong place at the wrong time. Faith.-Ronna Ruppelt, mom of 1

A: When I lived in California, I worried about my kids riding their bikes in our beach community without one of us watching them like a hawk. But, when I moved back to Georgia, for some reason, I felt safer. I have allowed my oldest child to ride to his friends house down the street and then that mom would text me when he arrived. I can promise this now, he will not be doing this again.

I watch all of of my children at all times to the best of my ability. I rarely hire babysitters and when I do, they are at my home only and I trust them. My job is to raise my kids into responsible and happy adults and to keep them safe. Now that this has happened, I have talked with them a lot more about strangers and being safe. I will be even more cautious now. Most of all, I guess all we can do is our best and always keep them in our prayers.

My poor children will be 25 before I will be OK with them wanting to walk down the street alone again. -Tammy Bester, mom of 3

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