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Stranger Safety

Perhaps in the past teaching your child not to talk to strangers would have been enough to keep them safe, but unfortunately this is no longer the case.

Children need to be taught how to respond appropriately to strangers and what to do if they feel in danger. Parents also need to do this in a way that does not instil fear or anxiety in their child but rather confidence.

 

There are many ways parents can teach their children to protect themselves and stay safe. This should start from a young age, as sadly even children as young as three can become victims of child predators.

  • Firstly, when teaching your child about Stranger Danger it is important that you explain that the world is general a safe place but of course there are people who they need to be careful of. Be aware of not frightening you child or giving them the impression that everyone is out there to hurt them.

  • Help your child to understand that a bad stranger will not look different to anyone else, so it is important that they are careful with everyone, as we donít know what people are like just by looking at them. You might like to use the story book Not Everyone Is Nice to introduce this concept.

  • Make sure they know never to wander of alone on family outings or day trips.

  • Think about setting up a special code word that you and your child know. This way if someone they didnít know did came to pick them up from school or another setting, they should be taught only to go if the correct code word was given. Make sure your code word is unique!

  • Try to avoid letting your child walk home from school alone, instead encourage them to walk with one or two friends. Make sure they always walk the same route and if they do change it, ensure they inform you beforehand.

  • If your child is old enough provide them with a whistle or mobile phone, so they can keep these in an easy to access location if needed. This will give them more confidence when out and about. Make sure they know how to contact you and what to do in an emergency.

  • Teach your child not to speak to or respond to strangers if they offer them sweets or toys without knowing the code word. These are often luring tactics used by child predators.

  • Avoid buying clothing with your childís name clearly printed on it, as child predators will often use this to lure your child, and your child is likely to feel closer to the stranger if they know their name.

  • Make sure your child always tell you where they are going and at what time they will return. If they are at all delayed expect them to contact you. This should be a key rule which your child always abides by.

  • Ensure your child knows not to wander off if they get lost but rather to stay in the same place and use their mobile phone or whistle, depending on the environment they are in. If they get lost in the park or on a beach a whistle is ideal.

  • You may like to set up role play situations with your child to help them understand appropriate and inappropriate behaviour from strangers. Story books are also an excellent way of educating children about the dangers in the outside environment.

 Image courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

 

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