Every day our children see strangers in stores, parks and in their neighborhoods. Majority of these strangers are good people, but some are not. As a parent you can protect your child from potential predators by teaching them safety tips about strangers and their suspicious behavior.
We often condition our children to think strangers look scary. This is actually dangerous for our children to think this way. Pretty strangers can be just as hazardous as the not-so-pretty strangers. Teach your child no one can tell by looking at a stranger if they are nice or not. You should teach your child to be careful around all strangers.
Talking to your child about strangers can be difficult and confusing. You want your child to be careful around strangers but in some cases you want your child to ask a stranger for help if they are in trouble. For instance, if your child is being followed by a stranger, the safest thing for them to do in many cases is ask a stranger for help.
Safe strangers are people your children can ask if they need help. Fireman and police officers are two examples of safe strangers, who are very recognizable in public. Teachers, nurses, principals and Liberians are safe strangers children can trust as well.
Teach your children if they need help immediately, and if possible, go to a very public place like a restaurant or a grocery store. Teach your child the warning signs of a dangerous situation such as an adult asking them to disobey or keep secrets from their parents. Teach your child it is OK to say no. If an adult makes your child feel uncomfortable, teach them it is OK to walk away, scream or yell, even indoors.
Constantly practice different scenarios with your child so they understand what kind of different situations they can be faced with. The more your child practices, the more confidence they will have in their abilities if they are ever placed in a dangerous situation.
Know where your children are at all times. Teach them safe places to play and paths to walk. Teach your children to play in numbers; there is safety in numbers. The most important safety tip is to teach your children to trust their instincts. Tell them some adults they may know and trust may make them uncomfortable. If this happens teach your child to get away as fast as possible and tell someone. Reassure your child you will always be there for them.
Working together as a community, we can educate ourselves and our children on how to reduce the risk of dangerous situations concerning strangers. If you would like more detailed information on stranger safety tips, please visit www.ncpc.org. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Palmdale Sheriff Station at 661-272-2400 or email Deputy Jodi Wolfe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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