Children need to know how to stay safe and protect themselves from kidnapping. They need guidance on making safe choices and decisions. Below are some general guidelines and useful tips that parents can share with their children. It is also important to give children examples that they will understand. These simple tips can help keep our children safe.
- First and foremost, explain that strangers should NEVER ask a child for assistance. They should never ask children for directions or for help with something they can do themselves, such as finding a lost puppy or kitten.
- Discuss the issue of strangers. Simply put, a stranger is someone that a child does not know. Unfortunately, children conjure up the image of a "scary monster" when parents mention the word "stranger." Explain that a stranger may look, act and dress nicely, or even wear a uniform.
- A child may be in a situation that requires interaction with a stranger, and this may be confusing. As an example, if a child gets lost in a grocery store, the child should immediately go to the checkout counter or security office even though that may mean talking to a stranger. Instruct your child not to wander around looking for you. The child should seek help from someone who works in the store.
- Role-play in various settings such as a park, a grocery store, your home and your neighborhood. Pose "what if?" scenarios and guide your children through the scenarios safely. Correct any un-safe choices and re-enforce safe choices.
Teach your children to:
- Never take anything like candy, ice cream or money from a stranger.
- Never take a ride from a stranger; check with parents or a trusted adult before accepting a ride even from someone they know.
- Never give their name or address to a stranger.
- Never say that they are home alone when answering the telephone.
- Check with a parent or an adult guardian before leaving the yard or play area. Always try to take a friend when playing outside.
- Create a commotion by yelling and screaming if a stranger tries to take them by force. Try to get away and immediately tell a parent or trusted adult what happened.