Just about every day, we see it on the news…………somewhere a child has been abducted! The world we live in just isn’t safe anymore, and when it comes to protecting our children, we need to take every precaution by teaching them to be wary of strangers. It’s hard to know exactly which persons are strangers; they can appear to be very nice, ordinary people.
Most children in their early development years are surrounded by loving parents, relatives and friends who assure that they are safe and comfortable; when they go places with their family, they are exposed to the outside world, but still are safe because they are with their family.
As they begin this trek into the real world, it is the job of the parents to teach them to be careful around people that they don’t know. Many well-meaning people love to pay attention to little ones, and that’s all right; however, those people know their boundaries, and don’t overstep them.
One major rule: Children shouldn’t be left alone to play in the yard! They could be grabbed so fast, you wouldn’t know until it is too late!
As children begin preschool or school, parents should check with their school to see if they are teaching children about Stranger Danger. These programs, along with parents, teach children not to take candy from people they do not know, and not to go near a car of someone inviting them over to see their puppy or kitten. If a child thinks someone is following him/her, they should go to a nearby store or group of people and get help. Should your child inform you of an incident such as this, you need to call the police and report it.
A good plan for parents and their friends who might need to pick up their child from school or elsewhere is to share a secret code word that the child knows, to ensure that they are the person the parent has arranged to pick them up. A stranger wouldn’t know that word, thus reminding the child that they are not to go with this person.
Other helpful ideas for your child’s safety:
- Never play in deserted areas, such as empty playgrounds, parks, or alleys
- Stay with Mom and Dad in public places
- Play with a friend; the “Buddy System” always works best
- If you are in a store and get lost from your parents, go to a cashier or security guard for help, rather than wander around
- If you go home after school and Mom or Dad are still at work, call them to let them know you are home okay
- Never tell someone you will be home alone
- If you see a broken window or open door when you get home, don’t go in. Go to a trusted neighbor and call 911
- Don’t open the door for someone until you know who it is
- Never give personal information to someone on the phone: your address, etc.
- If you want to go study with a friend in the neighborhood, get your parents permission first, and let them know where you will be and when you will be home
Cell phones are an excellent method of communication for kids old enough to be responsible in how they use them. Parents can call and check on them; likewise, they can reach their parents when they need to.