Stranger Danger

From My Northwest, a report of three (apparent) attempts to abduct a child in three different areas in the Puget Sound Region (including outside of two schools including Coe Elementary).  Talk to your children about strangers and what to do if they are approached.  From the story:

The National Child Prevention Council offers these tips for talking with kids about stranger danger:
  • You should also talk to your children about how they should handle dangerous situations. One way is to teach them "No, Go, Yell, Tell."
  • If in a dangerous situations, kids should say no, run away, yell as loud as they can, and tell a trusted adult what happened right away.
  • It's good to practice this in different situations so that your children will feel confident in knowing know what to do. Here are a few possible scenarios:
-A nice-looking stranger approaches your child in the park and asks for help finding the stranger's lost dog.
-A woman who lives in your neighborhood but that the child has never spoken to invites your child into her house for a snack.
-A stranger asks if your child wants a ride home from school.
-Your child thinks he or she is being followed.
-An adult your child knows says or does something that makes him or her feel bad or uncomfortable.
-While your child is walking home from a friend's house, a car pulls over and a stranger asks for directions.
In addition to teaching children how to recognize and handle dangerous situations and strangers, there are a few more things parents can do to help their children stay safe and avoid dangerous situations.
  • Know where your children are at all times. Make it a rule that your children must ask permission or check in with you before going anywhere.
  • Teach children to trust their instincts. Explain that if they ever feel scared or uncomfortable, they should get away as fast as they can and tell an adult.
  • Teach your children to be assertive. Make sure they know that it's okay to say no to an adult and to run away from adults in dangerous situations.
 I would echo that "teach your children to trust their instincts."  One of the best books about protecting your children is by noted security expert, Gavin deBecker, and his book, "Protecting the Gift."  We have this tendency to socialize our children (especially girls) to be "nice" and it's worth remembering we have gut instincts for a reason.


wsmama3 said…
Savvy Parents Safe Kids has a great list of school age rules and ways to talk to kids about this.

It's good to have family rules and plans - who is OK to pick up, adults should never ask a kid to help them, what to do if you get lost (find another mommy), and more.
Anonymous said…
The principal at our school (QAE) sent an email to our school community and posted to his blog when the incident happened at Coe. Scary, but I was pleased that the school communicated this info to families so quickly, so we could talk to our kids.

QAE parent

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