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Stranger Danger

Why People Don't Talk To Their Children: The Myths

It will frighten them but still not make them safe.       
They will feel like they can't trust anyone!       
I can't tell them how to protect themselves.

The Truth

Children have a keen sense of intuition and can recognize dangerous situations, but need to be given guidance about what's safe and what's not. Once you help them to understand the difference, a child can begin to make decisions regarding their safety. You can help them understand that they can protect themselves, and that the world does not have to be a scary place.

Step 1: Explain The Danger
Parents often tell children, "Don't go with strangers". This is vague and doesn’t help children protect themselves. Most abductions are by relatives anyway! Better advice would be "if you are lost or need help sometimes it’s okay to ask strangers for help, but strangers shouldn’t be asking you for help or to go with them. Usually you should not go somewhere with strangers unless you need their help in an emergency."

Step 2: Who Is A Stranger?
A stranger is anyone who is a stranger to you. Make an agreement regarding who is safe to go with, and that your child must say NO! to anyone else, no matter what! Teach your child to stay at least arms length away from a stranger who approaches them.

Step 3: Don't Be Polite!
Parents teach children to be "polite"; they should also teach that it's OK to be assertive and not talk to strangers.
Adults should ask adults for help, not children!

Step 4: Home and Phone Safety
Decide if your child is old enough to answer the door or phone when no adult is home. Never answer probing questions over the phone or at the door, call a parent. Teach 911 procedures.

Step 5: Make A Code Word
Teach the child a code word. If a visitor comes to get them, the visitor must know the code word, or the child should not go with them.

Step 6: Pick Their Routes
Avoid alleys, wooded areas, parking lots and spontaneous shortcuts. Choose areas where anything out of the ordinary would be noticed by neighbors, business owners, pedestrians, etc.

Step 7: Identify Trusted Adults
Pick stores, schools, churches, and homes of safe neighbors or homes with Block Home signs along their routes. Make sure your child knows these "safe places" that they should go if they need help. Remember, it’s generally safer if the child picks the adult!

Step 8: NO--GO--TELL
If approached by somebody who is scary, or who asks them to do something that seems wrong, a child should yell NO! then GO immediately to a trusted adult and TELL what happened.