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As parents, there's some ongoing topics that we must discuss with our children to keep them safe.
One of these topics is "Stranger Danger" and the risk of child abduction.
It's a scenerio that's almost too painful to bare thinking about, but in teaching our children to be wary of people they don't know we are arming them with skills to keep them out of harm's way.
If you don't know how to address this difficult subject with your children, we have put together some points to help you.
What to talk to your children about:
1. Remind your children not to listen to or be near a stranger. If a stranger approaches or tries to talk to them they should move away and tell you or their carer straight away.
2. Teach your children to not ever go anywhere with a stranger, regardless of what the stranger says.
3. Tell your children to never ever get into a car with someone they don’t know.
4. Remind your children that a stranger doesn't look like a 'Baddie' from the movies. They can be dressed in fun clothes and look and act just like a Mum, Dad or Grandparent.
5. Introduce a code word or phrase with your children that they can easily remember. This word or phrase (e.g. "Let's have a pizza") is only known by the trusted adults in their life. Tell your children to ask for the code word if they are unsure of without the person is safe to go with.
6. Teach your children that strangers can tell them sad or exciting stories to trick them into going with them. It may be to help with a sick child, or to look at some puppies in their car.
7. Tell your children that strangers might try and trick them by offering them treats, presents or lollies.
8. Make sure your children understand that they should always tell you or their carer where they are at all times, or where they are going.
9.Teach your children that if they are walking somewhere without an adult they should always walk with a friend or sibling, and only walk near busy streets – not take shortcuts where strangers could be hiding.
10. Remind your children that if they ever feel frightened to go into a safe place like a shop, police station or school.
11. Encourage your children to shout, kick and try to escape if a stranger tries to grab them.
12. Reassure your children that there are still lots of good, trustworthy people in their community, but it's still important to be cautious.
Talking to your children about these points doesn't have to be one, big and overwhelming conversation. Over time continue to discuss the topic with them and ask how they would handle different 'Stranger Danger' scenarios.
Most of all, it's important to teach your children to be safe, aware of predatory strangers, and to be self-protective without unnecessarily alarming them.
Encourage your children to visit Safety4Kids for fun games and easy-to-read information that further instils the Stranger Danger messages.