Train your children how to stay safe

One of my worst nightmares as a parent is to think of something happening to my child at the hand’s of another person. I weep for families who have lost a child to a predator.

But I refuse to live in fear. I won’t allow the possibility (no matter how remote) of something rob my joy and the quality of the time I spend with my children.

So this past summer, when I heard about Safe Escape and that Bob Stuber was speaking in Nashville, I plugged in the radio in the bathroom (not near the water; I’m not that crazy…) while I bathed the kids and I listened and took notes.

I was amazed at the ideas and suggestions that he gave for keeping our children safe and I immediately went over these with my children and husband. We role-played and talked it out.

PLEASE, for the sake of your children, take a look at this site. It could make a difference in your child’s safety.

Some of the ideas he gave:

~ give children permission to be safe. Often, they follow along with what a predator says because they are afraid they will get hurt or in trouble. Teach them that if they must, for their safety make noise and scream and knock things off of shelves (to wake up sleeping parents) DO IT. They have choices that they can make that could make a difference in being able to get away. But they need to be taught these things first.

~ teach children to look for bad actions, not bad people. You can’t look at a person and determine whether they are good or bad based on their dress.

~ teaching children how to unhook brakes lights in the trunk so that if they are ever abducted and placed in a trunk, they can unhook them and draw attention to the car. They can even hook and unhook to make them flash.

~ Velcro technique: Children cannot only yell out for help, they can grab hold of an adult for help. This involves the adult in the situation in a manner that forces participation. It is called Velcro, because the child is taught to grab onto another adult (who can help them) and not let go.

Do you have any resources that you’ve found helpful in teaching your children how to stay safe?

(have you signed up here yet? or visited here yet??)

Comments

  1. Hi Karla,

    Thanks for sharing on this important topic! Training in safety is so vital for our kids. We’d like to think that certain things won’t happen, but they have to be prepared in case they do. It’s hard, for me, because I don’t want my children to be worried or scared–but they do need to be aware.

    One site I’ve found helpful is http://www.thesafeside.com. They have some good information, a few free downloads–and I do want to buy the video at some point!

    One thing I’ve done with the kids is train them in what to do if they get lost from me at the store–this is a basic safety measure that might be a more common scenario than abduction, for example…and I realized at one point that I’d never told them what to do in case it happens!

    We talked about STAYING IN ONE PLACE. Not crying, but yelling LOUDLY for mom. Just once or twice, so no one else would know that they were “lost” and take advantage of the opportunity. Listening for Mommy and not hiding. If in a store, going to the front of the store after a few minutes. Looking for someone in a smock or at a register to help them. Or, if in a crowd (like the air show, flea market, etc.)–going to someone selling at a booth. Saying, “I got lost from my Mommy/Daddy. Can you help me?” And, especially, knowing Mom and Dad’s name, our address, and phone number. Even my two and three year-olds know this basic information.

    Thanks again for sharing!

    Cindy

  2. Those are great tips! It’s a scary world out there!!

  3. Do you have any suggestions about how to teach kids these things in a way that won’t terrify them?

  4. Hi Beck,
    I am always concerned about that, too. Whenever we talk about a safety issue, I always begin by reminding the children (particularly the little ones),

    “God gave you a Mommy and Daddy to keep you safe. We love you so much and we trust that God is going to help you be safe. But sometimes things happen and you will need to know what to do (if you get lost, if someone hurts you, if someone tries to grab you and take you away from Mommy and Daddy, etc.) These things probably WON’T happen, but if they do, you’re more likely to be safe if you remember what Mommy and Daddy have taught you.”

  5. Megan (FriedOkra) says:

    I hyperventilate a little when I even think of something happening to Bean. We have started some rudimentary safety discussions, but it’s good to hear more great ideas.

    On the brakelights – I guess that means I need to learn out to disconnect ’em, myself! Good info to have. Aren’t many cars also now equipped with buttons to open them from the inside?

    Hyperventilate hyperventilate.

  6. Thanks for sharing. I would have never thought to teach my son the Velcro technique. You have reminded that I should have this conversation with him again, and again, and again, etc. Have a great day.

  7. Yes!

    I have read “Protecting the Gift” by Gavin DeBecker. He teaches us to trust our instincts and allow our kids to do the same. Part of this is not making them speak to a stranger- like a cashier or anyone else- if they don’t want to. Telling them to be polite to someone they don’t know and then teaching them not to speak to strangers in other situations is a mixed message. When my daughter recoils from someone, I respect her space and her feelings.

    PS- the book is for adult eyes only but it has valuable tools. There are true stories that children should not read. He shares them respectfully and not for exploitation purposes. It is a must read for all women, not just moms.

  8. Some of the BEST resources can be found at http://www.missingkids.com in the Parents/Guardians resource section. Also, http://www.netsmartz.org has great tools for parents and educators on keeping kids safe online and offline. They have very kid/teen friendly interactive sites with age appropriate material – http://www.netsmartzkids.org and http://www.nsteens.org. You can download much of the information from the sites for free.

    I have a background in law enforcement, investigating crimes against children, and just started a weekly column on my blog called “Safety Saturdays” with tips for keeping kids safe. Check it out at http://delightfulevidence.blogspot.com.

  9. i don’t have babies…. but i do have a blog – thanks for visiting mine & doing Whatever Wednesday today. its always crazy around there.

    :)

  10. We made sure our kids knew our names, since they called us Dad and Mom, their entire name, and their phone number. We also taught them not to say their entire name to anyone when asked. And of course if anyone phoned home and they were there alone, they always said we could not come to the phone right then and would the caller please call back later.

  11. Marilyn@Mixed Bouquet says:

    Great post!

    I’ve been considering a safety-type post regarding special needs children/teens/adults. My four old “kids” are adults now, but my 16 yr old is special needs. It’s a concern. I’ll link them to you when I get it written.

    This guy has some great ideas. I had one thought concerning the unhooking of brake lights. Tell them at night that they shouldn’t just unhook them, but do the flashing bit. I’m in a rural area, but I’m thinking about a rear-end collision, ya know?

    Thanks for posting!

  12. Straight Shooter says:

    Karla, we got to see Bob Stuper in person giving his fabulous demonstration. I’d like to add three things that have stuck in my kids minds since then. One – if you are riding a bike, skateboard, scooter, etc. always keep it between you and the predator and if he grabs at you throw it towards him. Two – if he is in a car and pulls up beside the kids turn around and run the opposite direction. Makes it hard for him to turn the car around quickly. Three – If all else fails and you find yourself in the car with him. At the first opportunity, leap into the back seat and get DIRECTLY behind him. He can not turn and grab you and you (the kids) can pull ears (that come off surprising easy when pulled hard enough), gouge eyes, claw his neck, etc so he has to stop. By doing this at a busy intersection or part of town it will draw attention. He will have to stop the car to turn around or get out of the car which leaves time for the kids to possibly escape the other side.
    Shoooo. That was a much longer comment than I intended. Thanks for posting such a needed topic!
    You rock!

  13. We do lots of role-playing. We let the kids scream as loudly as they can. We also teach them the best ways to physically defend themselves (claw at eyeballs, grab-twist-pull, etc.) Daddy gets to be the guinea pig!

  14. forgetfulone says:

    The one about teaching them to unhook the brake lights just absolutely floors me! I would NEVER have thought of that. Thanks for the great tips!

  15. Thank you for posting this! I think like most moms this is one of my greatest fears.

  16. Thanks!

  17. Totallyscrappy says:

    Thanks for sharing all these tips! I’d never heard the velcro idea.
    One of the things I encourage people to do is give their child opportunities to try out their “gut feelings” while you are nearby. For instance, I ask my children to go the counter at McDonald’s to ask a question, etc. I think short experiences like that (while you are watching and within calling distance) allows them to navigate a bit in a grown up’s world. My kids and I also talk about who we would ask for help. I always suggest a mom or dad with kids.

  18. Hi Karla. Thanks for sharing this important topic. My 5 year old daughter and I was just talking about this the other day. It looks like we may need another talk again. I never knew about the Velcro technique. I’m always worried when my daughter is out and about because she loves talking to people even people she doesn’t know. It’s hard trying to explain to a head strong little girl that if you don’t know them they are a stranger. Thanks again.

    P.S. I just spent the past few days reading your archives. I have to tell you that you have been an inspiration. To have gone what you and your family have gone through over the past two years would have made a person lose faith and hope in God, but you haven’t. It made you a stronger and better Christian. You have inspired me to become a better wife and mom but most of all a better Christian. Thank you.

  19. The (Almost) Amazing Mommarino says:

    I cannot recommend the “Stranger Safety” video from http://www.thesafeside.com highly enough! It is VERY informative but in an entertaining, non-scary way.

    One tip: they don’t use the word “stranger”. It implies someone ugly or scary looking. Instead, call them “don’t knows”. The video also has lots to say about “kinda knows,” which is more important because it is WAY more common for children to be hurt or abused by an acquaintance than a stranger. My kids LOVE this video and have already put it into practice!

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