Police Department, Crime Prevention
Safety Skills For Children
While most kids pass through childhood without ever experiencing physical
harm, some are frightened or hurt by crime. As a parent, one of your responsibilities
is to teach your children how to protect themselves and respond to threatening
situations. And, it's important to always listen to your children's fears
and feelings about people or places that scare them or make them feel uncomfortable.
At what age should I address these skills with my child? T his depends on the parent and the child. Many parents allow their kids to go to friends houses in the immediate area (at first that could be next door or two houses down). It would be important that as you let them take these little steps to traveling (even short distances on their own) that you begin to share these things with them. Don't overwhelm them with the entire list but add one every time you have a teachable moment....teachable moments seem to stick with kids more than information that is read off of a list.
Cover the Basics:
- Have them rehearse their full name, address, and
phone number. Teach them how to make emergency calls from home and with cell phones.
- Show them safe places they can go to in an emergency,
like a neighbor's house or an open store.
- Tell them never to accept gifts or rides from someone
they don't know well.
- Teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard
and ask for help if you become separated in a store or shopping mall. Tell
them never to go into the parking lot alone.
- Accompany your children to public restrooms.
- Teach your children that adults would never approach a child for help or directions or to look for a lost pet. Tell your children that if they are approached by an adult, they should stay alert as this may be someone who could cause them harm.
- Teach children that if someone is trying to take them somewhere to quickly get away and yell, "This person is trying to take me away" or "This person is not my father/mother."
- Teach them that no one, not even someone they know,
has the right to touch them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.
Tell them they have a right to say "no."
- Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle.
- Children should never ask for ride or approach a car when they don't know and trust the driver.
At School and Play:
- Be careful when you put your child's name on clothing, backpacks, lunch boxes or bicycle license plates. If a child's name is visible, it may put them on a "first name" basis with an abductor.
- Walk the route to and from school with your children, pointing out landmarks and safe places to go if they are being followed or need help. Make a map with your children showing acceptable routes to school, using main roads and avoiding shortcuts or isolated areas. If your children take a bus, visit the bus stop with them and make sure they know which bus to take.
- Make a list with your children of their neighborhood boundaries, choosing significant landmarks.
- Interact regularly with your neighbors. Tell your children whose homes they are allowed to visit.
- Do not drop your children off alone at malls, movie theaters, video arcades, or parks.
- Make sure your children are taking the safest route
to school and friends' houses.
- Encourage them to walk and play with friends, not
alone, and to stay in well-lit open areas where others can see them.
- Don't hang a house key around your child's neck.
Put it inside a pocket or sock.
- Teach them to walk confidently and stay alert to
what's going on around them.
- Encourage them to look out for other kids' safety
and report anything they see that doesn't seem right.
- Tell them to stay away from strangers. If someone makes them feel uncomfortable or they are approached, leave the area.
- Children should always take a friend when walking or riding their bike. Stay with a group while waiting at the bus stop. It's safer and more fun to be with friends. When they arrive at the friends house, they should either text a parent or call to let them know that they arrived safely. The same should be done when going back to their home.
Safety at home :
- If your child goes home alone after school, teach them to check to see that everything inside is ok before going in. Does it look like someone has been at the home (gate open, door ajar, unknown vehicle in the driveway), Once inside they should contact a parent/guardian to let them know that they have arrived safely.
- Make sure your kids can reach you by telephone at
work, cell phone, pager, etc.
- Children should have a trusted adult to call if they are scared or have an emergency.
- Work out an escape plan in case of fire.
- Tell them to never open the door to someone they do not know well.
Caution them about answering the phone and accidentally letting a stranger
know they are alone. Parents/guardians may want to consider the use of a "code word or phrase" that is known to the children and parents and other trusted adults.
- Make sure they know how to work the door and window
locks and that they use them when they are inside alone.
- Choose babysitters with care. Obain references from family, friends, and neighbors. Once you have chosen the caregiver, drop in unexpectedly to see how your children are doing. Ask your children how the experience with the caregiver was, and listen carefully to their responses.
The important thing to remember is to
keep an open and honest exchange of information between yourself and your
For additional information please contact your Longmont Police Department - School Resource Officer.