Would your child know what do if they got lost in a shopping mall? Or if a nice looking, friendly, stranger offered them a ride home from school? What if the family babysitter wanted to play a “secret touching game”?
One of the great things about children is their natural trust in people, especially adults. It’s sometimes hard for parents to teach children to balance trust with caution. But today children need to know common-sense rules that can help keep them safe and build the self-confidence they need to handle possible emergencies. Here are some things that parents can do:
- Tell children to never accept rides or gifts from people they don’t know well.
- Teach children to go to a store clerk, security guard, or police officer for help if lost in a mall, store or on the street.
- Take time to listen carefully to children’s fears and feelings about scary people or places. Tell them to trust their instincts.
- Encourage children to walk and play with friends and avoid places that could be dangerous, such as vacant buildings, alleys, etc.
- Check daycare and after-school programs for certifications, staff qualifications, rules and community reputation.
- Make sure children know their home address and phone number. It is also helpful for them to know the name of their neighborhood, if applicable.
- Teach children that if they are being followed to keep walking to a public place, like a library or store. Talk to a grown-up at that place and have them call the police.
- Children should know how to identify community people like police and firefighters, by their uniforms and badges.
- Be certain children know that no adult should ask them to keep “bad” secrets and to tell their parents or trusted loved one right away if anyone does.
- Teach children to know the difference between a “good touch” and a “bad touch”, and to tell a parent immediately if anyone touches them in a “bad” way.
If your family needs assistance or has any other questions, please contact the Montgomery Police Department at 513-985-1600.