Welcome to Part 3 in our Stranger Safety series for families. This series was spawned from a very scary and very REAL experiment we participated in with Local 2 News Houston, entitled CRIME ALERT: Could Your Child Get Out Alive? which aired last night.
We wrote about our playground abduction test on Sunday stating how we felt before taking part in this experiment (by the way my husband did NOT want to do it). You can also see a video of how the KIDS felt after it was all said and done, but today? Today, my hope is that I can give you more than that. Using our favorite stranger safety teaching tool, the kids and I have come up with 10 Stranger Safety Tips all families should know. Oh and did I mention we’ve got a giveaway to help YOU teach your kids?
1. Don’t Knows and Kinda Knows: Teach kids the difference between people they don’t know, people they kinda know, and people who they can trust. Then, give them examples of each. For instance, “Kinda Knows” are people like your Karate Teacher, Baseball Coach, Neighbor, Doctor, Parent’s Friends.
2. Keep Safe Adults Close: When out in public, teach your kids to ALWAYS keep an eye out for you, as you would for them. If they can see you, you can see them.
3. Sing: If my 8-yr-old daughter asks to look at a toy in the next aisle at a toy store, but I’m with her younger brother looking at something else, I’ve taught her to sing when she’s out of my eyesight. If I can HEAR her, I know she’s safe.
4. Make a Safe Adult List: Tonight, sit together as a family, and make a list of the top three safe side adults your kids can ALWAYS trust. These are adults you would trust to pick them up from school in an emergency or take them places when you can’t. Make sure they’re local. When traveling, go over the list of adults in that particular city. We have family member who live out of town and kids should know they are safe, but they need LOCAL adults they can keep in their head during every day situations.
5. Front Door Safety: Teach kids to NEVER open the front door unless their safe side adult is with them. I’ve also gone as far as telling the kids NOT to yell if they hear the doorbell. Quietly, walk to me and tell me someone is at the door. This is the ONE incident that led me to start teaching my kids about stranger safety 3 years ago.
6. Trickery: Give your kids examples of tricks adults may play to get kids to go with them. For example, in our Stranger Safety experiment, our “predator” was looking for his granddaughter. Then teach your kids good adults will NEVER ask kids for help. EVER.
7. Separation from Parents: Okay, so your child is lost. Now what? Teach your kids what to do if they get separated from you. I’ve told them to stay where they are. If they’re moving and I’m moving, it makes it harder for me to find them. I’ve also told them it’s okay to go to a person that works there or a Mom with kids. My 4-yr-old got lost at Sea World, of all places, this last Summer. He went STRAIGHT to an employee and we were able to find him within FIVE minutes. (Scariest 5 minutes of my life, by the way)
8. Danger Signal: Tell kids, if a “Don’t Know” asks them to leave with them, they need to run and yell. Also, it’s very important they use their LOUDEST and STRONGEST voice. Things they can yell are, “This is not my MOM! This is not my DAD! HELP!” Practice at home. (You may want to alert the neighbors first though)
9. Create a Safe Circle: Teach children that once a stranger comes near (within 10 steps), be aware of what they’re doing and find your safe side adult immediately. I’ve told me kids to always be aware of their surroundings. I’ve also talked to my older son and reiterated how important it is for him to watch out for his younger siblings (which he did wonderfully in our stranger safety experiment).
10. “Kinda Know” Safety: Kids MAY think “kinda knows” are safe, but statistics have shown that out of the 262,000 children abducted each year, 78% are by someone they know. Remind your kids to NEVER go with a “kinda know” unless they ask your permission first.
I mentioned yesterday, we’ve used The Safe Side: Stranger Safety DVD with my children. This is a GREAT teaching tool as it appeals to young and older children. It’s funny and keeps them engaged. Today we’re giving away a brand new copy of The Safe Side: Stranger DVD to one lucky Momma Findings reader.
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