Education is the key and there are several discussions parents can have with their children regarding stranger awareness. One key element is to reinforce that children should never accept rides from strangers. One common tactic of child abductors is to lure children into a car using a fake story, such as telling kids they were sent by their parents who have been hurt in an accident. By establishing a “secret code word” system with your children, parents can better protect their loved ones.
One of the single most important factors to remember when teaching your children about stranger danger is to instil confidence, rather than fear.
Here are some tips and teaching tools for parents and children. Openly discuss this issue as a family to ensure everyone’s safety.
Teach your children:
- Their name, age, telephone number, address, city and province.
- That bad people do not always look mean or scary.
- If a stranger bothers them, advise them to run away. If they are followed or grabbed by a stranger, shout, yell loud and fight back.
- If anyone touches them in a bad way, say “NO”, get away and tell an adult they trust.
- How to contact you, the police, the fire department or ambulance service in the event of an emergency
- To keep you informed as to their whereabouts at all times
- Never admit to being alone in the home when answering the telephone. Never give out their name or address to strangers.
- To rely on police officers as their friends if they are lost or require help
- Never play alone
Tips for Parents:
- Teach your children to tell you if anything happens that makes them feel unsafe or uncomfortable
- Children should always carry identification including name, address, telephone number and emergency contact information on them
- Always keep an undated photo of your child with pertinent info, ie. height, weight, eye color.
- Keep communication open in your relationship with your children, this will ensure that they will share any doubts or fears they may have.
For other useful information please visit the OPP website at www.opp.ca.
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