Child safety is extremely important in today’s world. The term “stranger danger” has been used to death. It no longer helps in child safety preparedness. The phrase “don’t talk to strangers” also doesn’t properly educate children in child safety procedures. There are two things that are really important for parents to know when it comes to child safety.
1. Children need to be taught how to spot and escape potentially dangerous situations.
2. Parents need to understand that children are at far greater risk from someone they know than someone they don’t.
According to the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children, more children are kidnapped by someone they know. The center found that most children when questioned thought a stranger was someone that was “ugly or mean.” They don’t see friendly or attractive people to be strangers. This is obviously a problem when it comes to child safety.
If your child sees a person more than once or twice, they may lose their “stranger” status. This is why it is vitally important for parents or guardians to teach their children who they should and shouldn’t talk to. There should be no exceptions. Children want to be helpful and like adult approval. They will respond to adult authority. So if an adult tells them something will help a loved one there is a good chance they will be tricked into following.
This is unless they are taught what to do in different situations. Parents should focus on principles rather than situations. The reason for this is that there are an infinite amount of scenario’s your child could face. Teaching them the right principles which can fit any situation they may face.
Child safety means children should have a detailed list of people they can go to for help if they need to. Some of these people will be strangers. Police officers and firefighters should be on the list. But how and when to use those resources should be explained to your child. There have been reported cases where a child’s rescue was delayed because the child didn’t want to call out to “strangers”. These were qualified strangers who could help. The term “stranger” was never really clarified to that child.
How Should Child Safety Be Taught?
Child safety messages and principles need to be tailored to certain situations. If your child is lost outside for example what should they do? In such a case a child should be told to stay put. They should stay put a the point they became lost. This drastically increases their chances of being found.
The only reason they should move is if it becomes too dangerous for them to remain in that spot. Reasons like bad weather, darkness, or neighborhood to name a few. Then the child should go to the nearest child safety zone. These zones need to be explained to your child.
If your child feels threatened they should be taught to yell out and scream. This can attract people who can help to their rescue. Child safety is something that parents should make a part of their child daily life. They are never too young to learn. Go through “what if” scenario’s with your child weekly. Make trips to the mall, park or friends house teachable moments.
By doing these things you make you child a survivor rather than a victim. Child safety is everyone’s responsibility. Yet, sadly not everyone cares. That is why it’s the parents or guardians job to make sure child safety is a part of your routine.