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Keeping Kids Safe Basics At Home

Aug 17, 2007
Parents, do your children know about strangers? Are you comfortable letting your children answer the telephone or front door if you are home or if they are home alone? Take a minute to go over the following safety tips with your children. They could prevent your child from becoming a victim of crime.

It is important that you give them examples that they will understand. Use your home, neighborhood, and school area as settings. Make sure that your children understand that their safety is important to you, and use the following points to encourage discussion about this issue.

A stranger is someone that your child does not know very well. Parents and guardians need to determine who is and isn't a stranger. Explain that strangers come in many shapes and sizes. They can wear nice clothes, different clothes or even a uniform. The uniform issue is confusing to children, so take time to explain that yes, the mailman is a stranger even though he comes to the door almost every day. This does not imply that people who wear uniforms will harm children, but children need to know that if they do not know the person in uniform, that person is a stranger.

Protection comes even at home in a variety of ways. Here are a few tips to jhelp around the home with stranger danger:

Safety At Home
Never open the door to a stranger. If a stranger knocks on the door or rings the doorbell, tell your child to look out the peep hole or call out. "who's there?" If it's for you, your child should tell the visitor to wait, and leave the door locked until you are available. If you are not home, your child should tell the visitor that you are busy and to please come back later. Your child can take a message, but he or she should NEVER open the door. If the visitor won't go away, and your child is scared, tell him/her to call 9-1-1.

Safety In Answering The Telephone
When answering the telephone, your child should not give out any information. If the caller asks, "who's this?", instruct your child to ask who the caller is and whom he or she called. If you child is alone, he or she should never tell anyone that he or she is alone. Instruct your child to tell the caller the person can't come to the telephone and that he or she will write down a message. If your child feels uncomfortable or gets scared by anything the caller says, tell him/her to hand up and make sure he or she tells you about any and all telephone calls. If you have an answering machine, let it answer the telephone if your child is home alone.

Safety Outside
Always walk with a friend, there is safety in numbers. Strangers usually pick on kids that are by themselves. If you think that you are in danger, or if you are being followed, yell and run into the nearest store, house or back to school. Tell an adult what happened. Have your Mom or Dad or both of them walk your school route with you to make sure that it is completely safe. Always stick to the same, safe route going to and from school. Don't take shortcuts and never hitchhike. When at public places, parks markets, shopping malls, etc., always have your parents or guardian accompany you when you need to use the restroom.
About the Author
Joyce Jackson is a child safety expert and administrator for Keeping Kids Saf. For tips and more information see Keeping Kids Safe.
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