Not a week goes by without a report of child abduction, molestation, or a loved one who has turned up missing. An adult’s worst nightmare can be minimized through proper safety tip education with a youngster about “stranger danger” and what to do to keep a loved one out of harm’s way.
The following are safety tips for parents to discuss with their youngsters:
- Travel with a friend, or better yet, a group of friends when riding your bike or walking to or from school or other destinations.
- If a stranger offers you a ride somewhere, say no, and run away. Adults should define “stranger” and give safety tip examples to help youth, especially young ones, know what you mean.
- If someone follows you on foot, get away as quickly as you can. Go to someone’s house you know, or run to other people, or just run away.
- If someone is following you in a car, turn around and go in the opposite direction or take a path where a car would not go.
- Never leave school or any other extracurricular activity or event with someone who makes you feel uncomfortable. Mums or dads should tell their youngster that it is okay in these circumstances to not ride home, but that also means adults should have an established communications method along with these safety tip guidelines so that the kid does not end up stranded or alone.
- If a stranger tells you that there is an emergency or that a family member is hurt or that a pet has been in an accident, always check with your mum or dad or other trusted adults. This is a common trick used by many molesters or kidnappers.
Other general safety tips include:
- Grown-ups should establish “safe houses” where kids feel comfortable knocking on their door at any time a situation warrants it. Be sure to get approval from the neighbours/homeowners first before designating a home as a “safe house.” If possible, have a neighbourhood safety tip meeting and have residents agree to watch after one another.
- Parents should not become lax about kids going to a friend’s home in a neighbourhood – even if it is only a few doors away. Snatchings can happen in an instant; even under a parent’s watchful eye. The key is to keep an eye on a youngster when out front. Older youth should be instructed to call when they arrive at a friend’s home for peace of mind and as a good safety tip practice.
- Never let kids play out in the front yard alone without direct supervision by an adult. There are too many opportunities for endangerment or other types of accidents. A back yard is a much safer, and more private, option.
- If at all possible, an adult should greet youngsters as they get off a school bus, and not have them walk home alone.
- Parents should be cautious about blatant use of a child’s name on a backpack or jacket. Kids sometimes believe that a person can’t be a stranger if they know them by name when the reality is that their name was easily readable on their attire or the individual heard a youngster’s name mentioned.
- Adults should understand that boys are at just as greatest of risk as girls. It is a common safety tip misconception that child molesters or perpetrators are typically men and seek only girls. Molesters come in all ages and both genders, and their victims can be of either sex.
- Parents should begin reinforcing these safety tips as soon as a kid is old enough to understand, and above all, ensure that their child feels comfortable enough in discussing these issues, their concerns or fears, or any potentially inappropriate events that have possibly transpired. Awareness of these safety tips can help kids be less susceptible to any stranger dangers.