Eight Ways to Keep Your Children Safe from “Stranger Danger”
By Yehudit Garmaise
While adults know that perpetrators of crimes can lurk on every corner in the big city, children’s innocence makes them more susceptible to “stranger danger.”
Children have returned to school, so now is a good time to remind them to stay cautious and suspicious of anyone who tries to speak to them who is not a teacher or a close relation: even if the person is dressed like an Orthodox Jew.
Parents can help to ensure their children’s safety by teaching them the following tips, Brooklyn News 12 reported:
1. Don’t Talk to Strangers: Of course, parents’ first tips in sending off kids to walk on their own are to never talk to strangers and to never accept rides, nor gifts from strangers.
2. Memorize home phone numbers, and addresses: Parents’ work and 911 are other good numbers to teach your children to know by heart in case of emergencies, G-d forbid.
3. Safety in Numbers: Students should take care to walk in groups of friends, but not alone.
4. Avoid Distractions: Cell phones and earbuds can hamper pedestrians’ efforts to pay attention to their surroundings, should someone, G-d forbid, come too close. Tell your children that cell phones are only to reach their parents in cases of emergencies, and no pedestrians should listen to music while walking down the street.
5. Run Away: If a stranger does approach your child, tell your child to run away immediately and seek help.
6. Do Not Let Anyone Take You Anywhere: Children who feel they are about to be dragged to a second location should do whatever it takes to stop strangers from pulling them away. Children can drop to the ground, kick, hit, bite, and scream as loudly as they can to attract the attention of others who can help.
7. Not Just a Tantrum: So that other adults do not mistake a child who is in distress due to an everyday tantrum, children who are being harassed or dragged away should scream, “This is not my father,” or “This is not my mother,” one school district recommended.
8. Report any Suspicious Activity: Adults should report to their children’s schools and local police precincts any time children mention or adults notice any suspicious people lurking around schools, parks, or gatherings of children.