The usual Stranger Danger warnings for kids aren't effective because kids aren't sure what or who a stranger is. And once a child learns a stranger’s name, he’s no longer a stranger. Further, even adults often don’t recognize a predator if he acts friendly.
In addition, good strangers far outnumber bad strangers – and are very willing to help any child who’s lost or afraid. The vast majority of people will risk their necks trying to save your child. Make sure your child knows to ask strangers for help in an emergency. Stranger Safety can save a child.
• Know your full name, phone number and address.
• Never be alone off your property. Stay with friends – even when going to public lavatories.
• Always get your parent’s OK before going anywhere – and phone your parent often.
• Walk only on routes to school and elsewhere that your parent has scouted out with you and pointed out safe places along the way. And never walk through parking lots or take other shortcuts.
• No headphones or hand-held games to distract you from what’s around.
• If someone comes near you, don’t speak to him other than saying, "Go ask an adult.”
• Never go near someone in a car or truck. Just run the other way – toward other people.
• Cute animals and candy are just two tricks used by bad people to get near you.
• Always get your parent’s OK before accepting money or a gift.
• If you see someone doing something wrong, go the other direction.
• Do not have your name printed on anything visible to strangers.
• Give up your valuables if you’re robbed by another kid – never fight back.
• Never get money for any school or club project unless your parent is with you.
• Don’t trust anyone who tries to get you to break your parent’s rules.
• Tell your parent about places or people that make you feel unsafe.
• Have a secret code word for emergencies. If you phone your parent while you’re with someone who scares you, you can say the code word to secretly let your parent know that you need help.
• Never go anywhere that your parent hasn’t told you is OK – you might get hurt or lost.
• But if you do get lost anyway, go to a store or a home where you know someone is at home. Go anywhere there are people to help you – and be loud about it. That is stranger safety.
• If you think you’re being followed by someone, start blowing your whistle (or pull the pin on your noisemaker) while running to a store or a home where you know someone is at home (stranger safety). Run to anywhere there are people to help you – and be loud about it. (Instead of hanging a whistle around his/her neck on a cord that can be used to strangle, use a beaded-metal chain that breaks too easily for strangling. Or wear a whistle on a wrist bracelet.)
• Trust your feelings. If you feel scared, just run away to a safe place. Yell “NO,” then RUN and TELL an adult.
• If someone grabs for you, thrash, fight, bite, and scream, "Help! Police!" over and over, shed a jacket or backpack that is grabbed, drop anything you're carrying, run to a place with people, and call the police. YELL! RUN! TELL! A kidnapper is afraid of anyone seeing him and may simply flee alone.
• What if he has a weapon? Ignore it and run! Weapons are rarely used to threaten a child, and almost never used to harm a child at the kidnapping scene. A kidnapper does not want to attract attention. Besides, if he’s willing to harm a child there, he’s willing to do even worse harm at a secluded location.
• Pull the pin on their personal noisemaker alarm.
• Hug a tree, pole, or any solid object, or even a bicycle while screaming.
• Run in circles around an object such as a parked car, while screaming.
• Get under a car (belly up) and hold onto the underside so he can’t drag them out. If he crawls under there after them, get out on the other side, and run while screaming.
• Pull a fire alarm.
• If you're grabbed, get away no matter what! Shout, "Help! Police!" Drop to the ground, kick, bite, and scream – then run away while screaming!
Don't turn your back on someone you don’t trust – keep watching him. If he begins to approach you, raise one hand in a “STOP!” gesture, grab your whistle (or noisemaker alarm) with your other hand, and fiercely tell him to "Stay away from me!"
If he keeps coming toward you, run to safety while blowing your whistle (or pull the pin on your noisemaker alarm), and yelling, “Help! Police!” Run to a store or a home where you know someone is at home. Run to anywhere there are people to help you (stranger safety).
Parents, you can practice various role playing scenarios with your child. Also practice other “what if” scenarios with your children while visiting malls or parks so they’ll know what to do if lost or in danger. Make it a fun game.
• Personal Security Alarm (a.k.a. noisemaker or screamer). Most predators won’t chase a noisy target.
• Whistle worn around the neck (but use a beaded-metal chain – it’s too weak to strangle. Or wear a whistle on a wrist bracelet).
• GPS Child Locator: a child tracking device.