Stranger Danger!

Liz Fogle

Bug (my daughter) has never had stranger anxiety. She has always been incredibly friendly and outgoing. This is a blessing and a curse! I love that she is friendly with everyone, but makes it incredibly hard to teach her about stranger danger. I don’t want her to be unfriendly, but I also don’t want her to be overly friendly with the wrong person. The thing is…you just never know what can happen. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an estimate 800,000 children go missing every year. Honestly, I can’t wrap my head around that statistic!!! It is one number I wish was zero!!

As Bug’s mom it is my job to educate her on appropriate safety tips and protect her. Every year around the holidays, my since of protection heightens. I think it is because we are out more and in larger crowds. These crowds make it so much harder to keep track of Bug and for her to get lost (believe me, she like to wander!). Before we hit the mall, I always remind Bug to stay close and if she does get lost who she needs to find for help.

Here are some great tips to review with your children before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season hits!

1. Teach your children their full names, address, and home telephone number. Make sure they know your full name.
2. Instruct children to keep the door locked and not to open the door to talk to anyone when they are home alone.
3. Caution children never to accept a ride from anyone unless you have told them it is okay.
4. Take your children on a tour of your neighborhood and tell them whose homes they may visit without you.
5. Teach your children how to locate help at theme parks, sports stadiums, shopping malls, and other public places.
6. Teach your children that if anyone tries to grab them, they should make a scene and make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming, and resisting.

I know there are other great tips out there, but these are a few I am working on with my 4 year-old. The safety tips for your child will vary with age, so make sure you teach the appropriate ones.

Another important item for child safety is to have an updated photo and finger print of your child. This would be used in case they were abducted or lost. There are many great organizations that offer fingerprinting. You can visit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for more information.

I was e-mailed some information about a fingerprinting/safety event coming up in South Central Kentucky. The event is free and I thought I would pass the information along to you.
• Parents can attend Operation Kid Safe and receive digital fingerprints of their child. The parents will receive a form that is ready to hand to law enforcement in an emergency.
• The event is taking place at Mansfield Chevrolet-Buick in Russellville, KY on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, 12:00 pm-6:00 pm and Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, 10:00 am-4:00 pm.
• For more information you can visit Operation Kid Safe’s website

Does anyone else have some great tips you use to teach your child safety tips? Please pass them along.

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