Top 10 Safety Tips for Kids:
- I know my full name, my parent's first and last names, and our home address. I also know my family’s emergency phone number (we recommend a parent’s cell phone number).
- I know that a stranger is anyone I don’t know well. Even people I recognize - like the mailman or ice cream truck driver - are strangers, and that someone can be a stranger even if they look nice or know my name.
- I never put my name on my clothes, jewelry, caps, or belongings where people can see it.
- I use the “Buddy System” and avoid walking to and from school or playing outside alone.
- I stay a safe distance (approximately three adult arm-lengths) away from strangers and stranger’s cars whenever I can, even if a stranger seems nice.
- I know to never get into anyone’s car or go into anyone’s house without my parent‛s permission no matter how nice the person acts, how they look, and no matter what he or she offers me.
- When I walk down the street, I always face traffic so that I can see if someone stops the car near me, and I never take shortcuts through deserted areas like creeks or vacant lots.
- I know to YELL, RUN, & TELL if someone I don’t know approaches me or makes me feel uncomfortable and scared in any way. I know that running to a safe place and telling a safe person is better than hiding.
I know when and how to use 9-1-1 and “0” (remember to hit “send” when dialing from a cell phone). I know I can dial 9-1-1 and “0” from a pay phone without any money.
- I tell my parents about things that happen to me that make me feel uncomfortable, sad, or scared.
- Records: Keep the following records of your children in a safe place: any custody papers, current photographs, their height and weight, their description (including scars/birthmarks), fingerprints and passports. Update the photos and information regularly (annual school photo is perfect!).
- Safe people: Create a short list of safe people that you give permission for your children to go with. Tell them to call you before going anywhere with someone not on the list, even if they say it is an emergency. Law enforcement, firemen, and paramedics can be considered safe people in an emergency. We encourage parents to create a password with older children so that they can tell a trusted friend or family member the password if they ask them to pick up their child. This is risky with very young children because they can be tricked into telling the password. Precautionary reality: abductions by non-custodial parents are more common than stranger abductions. If you are divorced and have sole custody of your children, tell them whether their non-custodial parent is on the safe people list. To reduce the chance of potential family abductions, get a clear custody order that specifies visitation rights clearly, and know the non-custodial parent’s social security number, date of birth, current address and employment.
- Strangers: Define a stranger as anyone the child doesn’t know very well. It is important for children to know that people they have seen before (the mailman, the ice cream truck driver, etc.) are strangers if they don’t know them well, and that someone can be a stranger even if they look nice or know their name. Tell children not to tell strangers their names or where they live, and don’t put your children’s names on the outside of their belongings. Discuss the difference between "strangers" and how their intentions are "unknown" (they might want to trick us?) while public safety officers (i.e. Police, Firemen, Paramedics, etc) are there to help us in emergency situations.
- Clearly stated rules: Take the time to talk with your children regularly about safety and family rules. Let them know who can pick them up, and explain how they are expected to check in with you.
- Safe communication: Encourage your children to talk about their feelings. Ask about their day and about the people they encountered. Are they having any problems? Be open to listening more so than reacting. By creating an open dialogue with children – especially about the things that make them scared, embarrassed or sad – you make it easier for them to tell you about potentially dangerous situations they’ve encountered.
Is your child allowed to walk to school alone? Here are some things to consider.
Child Safety Tips by Child Quest International, Inc. a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit. For more safety tips and information, visit our website at www.childquest.org or join us on Facebook and Twitter. ©1990-2012