With Children / Pets
Instead of saying, “Don’t talk to strangers,” tell children “Don’t talk to people you don’t know.” Children often think of a stranger only as someone who looks mean, bad, dirty, different or disheveled. Teach children that anyone can be a threat.
- Since it may confuse children that their parents often speak to strangers, explain the difference. Only when their parents are with them, and say it’s OK, are children allowed to talk to adults or older kids they don’t know.
- The vast majority children are not victimized by strangers but by trusted friends, leaders (teachers, coaches, etc.) or family members.
- Tell your kids to never accept items, gifts, treats, pets, rides, pictures, etc. from an unknown adult or older child.
- Tell your kids to never allow an unknown adult or older kid to approach them and ask them to help out for any reason, such as looking for a lost pet or child, giving directions, doing yard work, etc.
- Tell kids to scream, run away and tell someone if anyone in a car stops and tries to get them to come closer to the car or gets out and approaches them.
- Tell kids to yell “NO!” run away, and tell if any adult or older kid asks them to keep a secret.
- Explain “private areas” (parts covered by their bathing suit) and instruct kids to yell “NO!”, run away, and tell if someone tries to touch, look at or photograph their private areas or tries to get them to touch or look at his/her or someone else’s private areas.
- If there are known sex offenders living in your neighborhood or near your child’s school, it may be a good idea to show your children photos of the offender and tell them, “This person has tricked/hurt children before. If he/she tries to walk up to you or talk to you, yell “NO” and run away, then tell."
- Be careful to not give too much information. The goal is to educate and empower your child, not scare them.
- Teach kids how and who to ask for help if they are separated from you in a public place. Tell them even though they will be scared, try not to cry so others can understand them.
Teach your children:
- Their full names
- Parents/guardians full names
- Home and cell phone numbers
- How to use a cell phone
- How to use a payphone to call 911
- How and when to call 911
- Practice often until it’s second nature to them
- A “script” to use in case they are separated from you: My name is (full name) I am lost from my mommy, whose name is (full name). Will you please help me find my mommy? I know her cell phone number if that will help!
Instruct your children to never allow a stranger to remove them from anywhere if they become separated from you - they should:
- Kick and fight
- Scream at the top of their lungs, yelling “Help! I don’t know you! Kidnapper!”
- Run away
Some good choices of people to ask for help are:
- Uniformed workers
- Moms with strollers or other young kids
- Police officers, security guards, firefighters
- Nurses, doctors
- Play the “what if” game: What if we got separated here at the store, who would you ask for help? Quizzing and practice actually builds a “script” in their brains so they have something useful to reference during stressful situations.
- Use ID methods such as collar tags and micro-chipping
- Have recent photos of your pet on file as well as any ID numbers
- Regularly check on pets when they’re in the yard. It only takes a moment for someone to jump a fence and steal an animal.
- Spay/neuter your pet to help prevent wandering or breeding theft.
- Don’t leave any pet unattended in a public place such as a parking lot or grocery store.
- If your pet disappears, contact the Humane Society (268-PETS) and the Police (333-COPS) immediately.