Stranger Danger and child safety- one of the biggest concerns of parents around the world. We do everything we can to isolate and protect our child from the dangers that exist in the world, but while we’re the first line of defense, our children are the last so it’s important to give them all the knowledge and skills they need to make the best decisions possible. Even very young children can be taught important safety rules and skills.
So let’s talk about some important — and potentially surprising –stranger danger facts about child abductions in the United States.
Facts about Child Safety and Abductions
- Every 40 seconds in the United States, a child becomes missing or is abducted
- It takes less than 1 minute for a predator to lure a child away
- In 80% of abductions by strangers, the first contact between the child and the abductor occurs within a quarter mile of the child’s home
- Most potential abductors grab their victims on the street or try to lure them into their vehicles.
Chilling facts right?
I’ve rounded up a few tips to protect your child against Stranger Danger and the world around us. The goal of these tips is to teach children basic safety skills without instilling unnecessary fears.
The last thing we want is for our children to live in constant fear, and be untrusting of everyone.
11 Stranger Danger Tips That Could Potentially Save Your Child’s Life
1. If a stranger tries to take them
Tell your child that if a stranger tries to take them- all manners are out the window. Throw, scream, cry, bite, and throw things. Make the biggest scene of the century and run as fast as you can.
2. If they are lost
If your child is lost and afraid, the first thing to do is look around for a police officer. If no police officer is in sight, tell them to look for an employee at the place they are at. If all else fails, tell them to look for a woman with kids.
3. If they feel like they’re being followed
Teach your children that if they are being followed by a car, turn around as fast as possible and run the opposite direction. It will take the car longer to turn around which will buy them time to get further away.
4. If an adult tells them to keep a secret
Always stress to your children that they should never keep secrets from you. YOU are their safe place. This is especially important if an adult tries to tell your child to keep a body secret. Stress that body secrets are never okay and they must tell you immediately. And they are to never be touched in their private places. (That’s a whole other conversation)
5. If they’re in an uncomfortable situation away from home
If your children are at a friend’s house or some place that you’re not, make up a code word for them to use in the case that they feel unsafe. Sometimes kids may feel embarrassed or afraid to speak up, a code word could potentially avoid that fear.
Tip: Once they give you the code word don’t ask questions. Just go and pick your child up immediately.
6. If a stranger asks them for help
Teach your children that safe adults do not ask kids for help, they go to other adults for assistance. Never ever help a stranger. Let mom or dad help them.
7. If they’re in the middle of a kidnapping
If a person has picked your child up and is in the middle of kidnapping them, teach your children to scream out things that would alarm others.
8. If they need help right away
Start early with your children by teaching them their first and last name and your cellphone number. Bonus points if you can instill in them, your home address. They should also be aware of 911 and when it’s appropriate to call.
9. If they’re home alone and a stranger is at the door
It’s important to tell your children to never ever answer the door while they are home alone. Not even for the policeman. Predators are smarter than you think and can easily dress up as a trustworthy citizen.
Tip from another mama: Give your children a passcode and tell them they are not to answer the door for anyone unless they can give the passcode.
10. Show your child registered offenders
This one might sound a little scary, but it’s definitely acceptable and appropriate to pull up the website for registered offenders in your neighborhood and show your children who they are so they know to avoid them at all costs.
11. Role play suspicious behavior.
A very effective strategy to teach kids about suspicious adult behavior is to act out scenarios and role play.
Here’s a few scenarios to try with your children:
- Asking for help: “I need help finding my child. Please help me!” “Can you help me look for my puppy?” Explain to your child that strangers shouldn’t ask kids for help.
- Offering treats: “Would you like some candy?” “I have a skateboard in my car. Would you like it?” “I’ll let you have one of my kittens (or pet my cat), if you will sit on my lap and watch this video.”
- Feigning an emergency: “Hurry! Your mom was in an accident. I’ll take you to the hospital.”
- Flaunting authority: “I think you’re the kid who hurt my son. Come with me and we’ll go find your parents.”
- Pretending to be an official: “I’m with the F.B.I. and this is my badge. You must come.” (Tell your child to call you or find an adult they trust ASAP to verify the situation.)
Make them smart and keep them safe
Practice, review and reinforce all of these Stranger Danger tips in a manner that will not scare your children. The goal is to make them smart. And keep them safe!
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