Safety: Stranger Danger

Parents do all they can to isolate children from danger, but the reality is that it is an impossible task. Children will face times when they must act on their own behalf. With these tips below we hope this gives parents and kids the tools and methods to empower kids with all the knowledge and skill sets they need to make the best decisions possible… decisions that can be life-changing and potentially life-saving… when they are dealing with a stranger.

  • Students should use public sidewalks and streets when walking to school. Use the same route every day and avoid shortcuts. Don’t take shortcuts off the regular path. For example, avoid alleys, wooded areas, and construction sites.
  • Choose the safest route between home and school and practice walking it with children until they can demonstrate traffic safety awareness.
  • Buddy System - When students go somewhere, always try to go with a partner or buddy. Walk to school with other students. Strength in numbers!
  • Students must go straight home after school.
  • Tell your child to avoid talking to strangers.
  • Children should always tell their parents or a trusted adult where they are going, how they are getting there and when they will return.
  • Make sure your child knows their full name, address, and telephone number.
  • Teach your child about 911 by making sure they know how to make an emergency call.
  • Scream for attention – Inform your child that if someone grabs them to fight, kick, punch, scream, bite… do everything they can to escape. Tell them to yell “This is not my daddy (mommy), help!”
  • Learn how to escape - If someone wants your child to get in his or her car run in the opposite direction that the car is pointing. Even if the person has a gun or a knife, RUN!
  • Never get into a vehicle with a person, even if your child knows that person, without parent permission.
  • If a stranger approaches, tell a trusted adult such as a parent or teacher right away.
  • Adults don’t need a child’s help – If an adult asks for your child’s help, they may be trying to trick them into going with them. Some tricks they use are, “I’m lost, can you give me directions?” or “I’ve lost my puppy (or kitten). Can you help me find him?” The answer when any adult, whether the child knows them or not, should always be, “I have to check first”.
  • Children should not wear clothes or carry a backpack with their name on the outside where everyone can see it.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. Pay attention!
  • Teach your children to believe in their instincts and to trust their feelings. If something or someone seems scary, or makes them feel uncomfortable - go somewhere safe right away.
  • Supervise young children walking or biking to school or as they wait at the school bus stop.
  • Ensure your child leaves early enough to get to school 10 minutes prior to the start of school.
  • Students should be focused on their surroundings, following pedestrian safety rules and not preoccupied with being late to school.

Parents, the single most important tool to prepare your child on how to handle difficult situations is to talk to them frequently about using safety in the community, especially as they obtain more independent privileges.