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Do your children know about strangers? Are you comfortable letting your children answer the door, telephone or if they are left home alone? Take a minute to go over the following safety tips with your children. They could prevent your child from becoming a victim of a crime. It is important that you give them examples that they can relate to. Use your home, neighborhood or school as a setting. Make sure that your child understands that his/her safety is important to you and use the following points to encourage discussion about this issue.
Who is a stranger?
A stranger is someone that your child does not know. Parents and guardians need to determine who is and isn't a stranger. Explain that strangers come in many shapes and sizes. They can wear nice clothes, different clothes or even a uniform. The uniform issue is confusing to children, so take time to explain that that yes the mailman is a stranger even though he comes to the door almost every day. This does not imply that people who wear uniforms will harm children, but they still need to know that if they do not know the person in the uniform, they are still strangers.
Make sure your children know:
- never take anything like candy, ice cream or money from a stranger.
- never talk to strangers.
- never take a ride from strangers even if they say you the parent sent them because you were sick.
- if a stranger asks for directions stay away. strangers shouldn't be asking children for directions. if they are in a car and bother you, run in the opposite direction. if a stranger tries to follow you on foot or tries to grab you, run away, scream and tell a parent or a trusted adult.
- never give your address or personal information to someone you do not know.
Safety at home
- Never open the door to a stranger.
- If a stranger knocks on the door or rings the doorbell, tell your child to look out the peep hole or call out "who's there?" If it's for you, your child should tell the visitor to wait, and leave the door locked until you are available. If you are not home, your child should tell the visitor to wait, and leave the door locked. If you are not home, your child should tell the visitor you are busy and to come back later. Never open the door.
- If the visitor won't go away, and your child is scared, tell your child to call 911.
Be street smart
Explain to your children how to safely walk to and from school.
- Always walk with a friend. There are safety in numbers. Strangers usually pick on children that are alone.
- If you think that you are in danger, or being followed, yell and run into the nearest store, house or back to school. Tell an adult what happened.
- Always stick to the same route. Don't take shortcuts and never hitchhike.
- You as parents should walk the route to see that it is completely safe.
What to do in an emergency
Explain to your child that if someone is hurt, very sick, if there is a car accident or fire, call 9-1-1. Demonstrate to them how to dial 911 and explain that a dispatcher will ask a few questions to get the help they need. Tell your child if he or she ever gets lost to go to the nearest phone and call 911. Explain to your children as well, not to play with the phone.