Stranger danger!

What you can do to keep your kids safe in the public


With the increasing number of crime news reported in the nation lately, we parents are bound to worry about our children’s safety. Despite the prominent publicity, they are very rare and can be prevented if parents and children know what to do when facing such situations.

Better be safe than sorry. Here are some safety rules that you can share with your child:

1. Teach your child to trust himself
We don’t want our kids to grow up in constant negativity and fear of his surroundings. Tell him that most people are nice, but there are some out there who do bad things and could hurt him. He needs to know that it is more important to stay safe and trust himself than to be polite, especially in situations where people make him feel very uncomfortable.

2. Check first
Regardless of the event – whether it’s held in a school, public or family function – make it a priority for your children to check with you and ask permission from a grown-up before going off to somewhere or with anyone.


3. Three Giant Steps rule
Have your kids agree to follow the 3 Giant Steps rule, whereby they can only be three giant steps away from either their parents at all times. If they do become separated from you, teach them to look for a safe stranger and never leave the mall or shop to go looking for you outside. Assure them that you would never go outside or leave until you are reunited, no matter what anyone tells them.

4. What’s a stranger?
In a calm, non-fearful manner, discuss age-appropriate safety issues with your child. Tell them that it is NOT what a person looks like that makes them dangerous, but rather what they ask a child to do.

5. Role play
Talk to your child about potential dangerous situations and what can be done to keep himself safe. Act as the predator and teach him what to do. Guide him on safety strategies such as walking away immediately, shouting “Help me! This is not my parent!” or run to a mum with child, someone in a uniform or the person manning the cash register. Empower him with self-confidence and trust in his ability to sense when something is not right.

6. Safety from dangerous creatures
Aside from strangers, it is important to teach your children that some animal creatures are dangerous too and should not be disturbed at all costs. Teach them that while dogs, cats, snakes, spiders and bees look harmless, they should be respected from a distance.


7. Emergency numbers
Tell your child the number to call in an emergency. Print out these numbers and put them up at a visible, child-level spot. Guide her to provide important details calmly and clearly. Most importantly, have them memorise your mobile number.

We find these articles “13 Safety Rules for Every Family” by Dr Laura Markham and “12 Ways to Keep Kids Safe” extremely useful.

If you have other tips in keeping children safe, please feel free to comment and share.


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