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Stranger Danger

Safety, Stranger Danger

Warmer weather is finally here and that means our children are going to be moving about outdoors and maybe out of sight from time to time. Included here you will find some ideas on what to share with your children regarding strangers and proper conduct in dealing with them.

1. First of all remind your children that a stranger is "Someone you do not know". Make sure they understand that the person's age, race, gender or appearance have nothing to do with who a stranger is

2. Make sure they understand some strangers are helpers, but also make sure they know how to positively identify those strangers. Here are some "Helpers":

  • Police Officers
  • Firefighters
  • Ambulance workers
  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Uniformed Security at the mall, zoo or other such place
  • Uniformed workers at various retail establishments noted by their aprons, smocks or matching shirts and the like.

3. Some suggested "Rules" to teach your children as it relates to strangers. Add any others you feel are appropriate.

  • Never talk to a stranger (You may consider allowing a simple hello)
  • Never take anything from a stranger
  • Never go with a stranger
  • Never help a stranger search for a lost puppy, kitten or child.

4. Teach them "Run, Yell and Tell"

  • "Run" means that you run to a safe place such as a McGruff House,store, trusted neighbor, school, friend, gas station, police car, fire truck, etc.
  • "Yell" means that you yell for help while running.
  • "Tell" means you tell a a grown up to call the police once you arrive at the nearest safe place.

5. Employ a "Code Word" in your home. This is a word or phrase that only Mom, Dad and the children know. Not even Grandma or Grampa should know that word. That way should you need to send another family member or neighbor to pick the child up from school, day care or any other function; the person picking them up has to give the code word to your child before your child goes with them. Teach your child that no matter who is picking them up, they do not go unless the code word is said.

Please note that providing the code word to the person picking up your child does not preclude contacting staff or others in charge at the place / event the child is being picked up from.

Should the code word have to be used change it immediately, use each code word or phrase only once. You can make it fun by allowing the children to make up the code word.

As always, these are merely suggestions and may not be suitable or appropriate for you and your family and only you can decide that. "Stranger Danger" should be reviewed regularly by improptu verbal questions and proper answers or behaivors need to be positively reinforced.

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