The purpose of this article is to address some of key points parents need to know in order to keep their children safe.
Let them know who can help them: When I was an officer I participated in something called "Safty Town". What they did was educated very young children (ages 4 to 5) on safety matters. My role was to visit children while in uniform, then instructor and myself would educate children on how to identify a police officer. We would point out things on my uniform like my badge, radio, big belt with all sorts of stuff, and color of my uniform. The purpose was to get children to understand what a police officer would look like and more importantly to let them know that we are there to help them if they need help.
Often times when I was on duty and having lunch in a restaurant, I would have some parent who was having a problem with their young child, say something like "If you don't sit up straight I will go tell that police officer to arrest you." Or, we would have parents bring there children into our police station and want us to threaten to arrest their child if they do not wear their seatbelt or for some other discipline problem parent was having that day. This is a very counter productive thing to do. What these parents are telling their children is that police are in a sense boogey man and someone to be fearful of. The major problem with this is; if something happens, child will be afraid to seek out a police officer for help.
If you are having a discipline problem with your child be parent and deal with it. Do not put it on police department's shoulders, it is not their child, nor their problem. Attempting to have police department dicipline your child will do more harm than good. If you have had a bad contact with police you need to through that over fence when it comes to protecting your child. Because like it or not if your child becomes missing first organization your going to contact will be police department, no matter how you feel.
What is a stranger: It is common for parents to tell their children danger of going with strangers. The problem is what is a stranger. What adults view as a stranger is different then what a child may view as a stranger. Instead of addressing what a stranger is, you need to address things a stranger may do and address dangerous situations your child may have to deal with. This makes it much easier for your child to understand. Below is a list of common issues your child should be made aware of.
What if an adult wants you to do something you don't want to do? First, every child should know that he or she has a right to say "No!". We have a tendency to tell children to obey adults. This makes them vulnerable to every adult. There are only certain adults they should obey. And you should tell them who they are. Teach your child to protect their personal space from unwanted intrusion.
What if an adult asks you to keep a secret from your mother or your father? No adult should ask a child to keep a secret from their parents. If an adult, even someone they trust like a babysitter or a relative, ever tells them to keep a secret, they should tell you immediately. Molesters depend on fact that a child will keep their secret. What is a stranger? Children should know that a stranger is any adult they don't know well. That doesn't mean they're bad. It just means they haven't earned your trust yet. Even someone they see every day, like a neighbor, is a stranger if they don't know them well.
What if a stranger wants you to come to his car or house? If a stranger pulls over and asks for help or wants to show you something in his car, don't go to car. Stand back and be ready to run. You should explain that while it's OK for a child to ask a grownup for help, grownups shouldn't ask children for help. They should be asking other grownups. Abductors will use many lures to draw children to them: They ask for help, like directions for finding a pet. They seduce children with gifts, candy, money or jobs. They make threats. They pretend to be authority figures, like police and clergy. They say its an emergency. "Your parents are hurt. I'll take you to hospital." What do you do if a stranger says he's come to pick you up? For safety of your child, you should have a secret code word that just family members know. If you ever send someone to pick up your child, give them code word. Your child should not go near car unless stranger knows secret word.