Rehearse with your child his
or her full name, address, and phone number, including area code, and
how to make emergency phone calls from home and public phones. Practice
on an unplugged phone.
Teach your child to go to a store clerk or security guard and ask for
help if you become separated in a store or shopping mall. Tell them
never to go into the parking lot alone. And, when possible, accompany
your child to the restroom.
Tell your child never to accept gifts or rides from someone he or she
does not know well. Your child should never go anywhere with another
adult, even one who says you have sent him or her. Adopt a family code
word to be used if you have to ask a third party to pick up your child.
And, make sure your child knows to never, ever, hitchhike!
Teach your children that no one, not even someone they know, has the
right to touch them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable. Tell
them they have the right to say "No" to an adult in this situation.
At School or At Play
Walk the neighborhood with your child. Pick out the safest route to
school and friends' houses. Avoid danger spots like alleys and wooded
areas. Identify safe places to go in an emergency, like a neighbor's
house, a block parent, McGruff House, or an open store.
Encourage your child to walk and play with friends, not alone, and to
stay in well-lighted open areas where others can see them. Teach your
child to walk confidently and stay alert to what's going on.
Don't hang a house key around your child's neck. It's a telltale sign
that you won't be home when they return from school. Put it inside a
pocket or sock.
Encourage your child to look out for other kids' safety and to stay away
from strangers who hang around playgrounds, public restrooms and empty
buildings. A stranger is someone the child doesn't know well. Teach your
child to remember and report to you the license numbers of people who
offer rides, hang around playgrounds, or appear to follow them. If a
stranger tries to follow or grab your child, teach him or her to scream
"Stay away from me" or "This person is trying to hurt me," and run to
the nearest place where people are around.
At Home Alone
Make sure your child can reach you by telephone, wherever you are. Have
your child check in with you at work or with a neighbor when she or he
Caution your child about answering the phone and accidentally letting a
stranger know he or she is alone. The child should say that parents are
busy and take a message.
Post important phone numbers near all your home phones:
Poison Control Center
Mom or Dad at work
Grandparents at home or work
Agree on rules for having friends over or going to someone else's house
when no adult is present.
Work out an escape plan in case of fire.
Tell your child never to open the door to a stranger when alone at home.
(Consider the height of your child when installing a peep hole in your
front door.) Teach your child how to work door and window locks and make
sure to use them.
Discuss fun ways to be home alone. For example -- feed pets, read books,
or write a letter to a friend or relative.
Back to Child Safety Tips