Child Safety – A Change of Strategy
New Ideas on Keeping Children Safe From Strangers
Child Safety - A Change in Strategy
Remember when we were young and our parents said "Don't talk to strangers!" or hearing the saying "Stranger Danger!"? Back then, scare tactics like this were considered the best way to keep us kids away from danger. If you never talked to strangers, predators could not get to you. Times are changing though, what worked 30 years ago doesn't work as well today. Society has changed and right along with it… the dangers it poses to our children have also changed.
So let's update on some of the best ways to help your kids keep safe. Not every child abduction can be prevented; abductors are larger and stronger than their victims and are often clever. There are, however, ways to help keep your child safer. Here are seven tips to ensure safer practices with your children
1. Don't teach "Stranger Danger!"
First of all, it invokes the image of a scary person. In truth, an abductor will look like anyone else and they can approach children in a friendly way. Once they introduce themselves or claim to be a friend of a parent, they may not be as tranger in your child's mind. Stress to your children that you can't tell if a person is bad or good, just by looking at them.
Secondly, there may be times when your child does need to talk to strangers. The important thing to teach your child is to talk to the right stranger. It used to be easiest to tell our kids to talk to a police officer or someone in uniform, but abductors have used uniforms to give a child a false sense of security by saying "It's ok, I'm a police officer" before. Children can't distinguish one uniform from another and abductors know this. Instead tell your children to look for a mother with kids, or someone in a store that you take them into often.
2. Teach your kids that adults don't need help from kids
If an adult needs directions, help finding a pet or anything else, they should ask another adult, not a child.
Teach your children that it's ok to tell an adult "My dad can help!" and to turn around and run to their parent.
3. Have a code word or phrase
This is a phrase that you would share with your children, especially as it relates to adults they should and can trust. They should know that if you send someone to pick them up from school or any activity, the code word will be used. Make it something funny or personal so it's easy for the kids to remember. A child should only go with someone who tells them that phrase.
4. Let your child know its OK to yell, say NO to an adult and to go tell a parent when they feel uncomfortable or scared
We teach children to listen to adults and not to be disruptive, but there are times they should disobey and be loud. It's a good idea to practice with your kids. Give them a scenario and have them practice saying NO firmly and loudly, scremaing and running away.
5. Be cautious and aware of identifying clothing
Personalized shirts, a team uniform or clothing from your child's school can provide a potential abductor with valuable information.
If they are able to call your child by name or mention their school or team, they may be able to trick your child into believing that they know them.
6. Know Mom or Dad's phone number
Although this one takes some time, it's well worth it. Teach your children to remember Mom or Dads phone number that they can use when in trouble or scared. Make a game out of it with the younger ones to help them remember.
7. Show your child where they can run to
If your child is lost, scared that someone is following them or has been approached by someone, teach them where the safe places are that they can go to. Libraries, Police stations and Fire stations or even stores that you frequent with your child. Talk to these places and let them know that you are teaching your child about safe places. A little pre-planning can not only help your child in dangerous situations, but provide them with the tools they need to make themselves safe.