Streetproofing your kids: stay alert and stay safe


Streetproofing your kids: stay alert and stay safeStreetproofing children is about encouraging discussions with your child every day, consistently practicing family guidelines, and developing their understanding of what’s acceptable and what’s not.

You may not be able to follow your child around and personally protect them everywhere, but with some key steps, children can be taught to participate in protecting their own safety.

Record your important details – Make sure that your child knows and has access to important addresses and telephone numbers, including 911, and go over these together on a regular basis. Whether it’s your own contact info, and/or that of a trusted neighbour or relative, children need to know where to go and who to call if they find themselves in need of help.

Record your child’s important details – Know your child’s friends. Keep a list of their telephone numbers, where they live, and get to know their parents.

Start a child identity kit, but avoid personalized attire that identifies your child – Your local police can assist you in creating your own child identity kit. Avoid having your child’s name on their T-shirts, lunch boxes, jackets, or jewellery. Children are likely to respond to anyone who addresses them by name and it makes them vulnerable.

Discuss scenarios –
Set rules with your child outlining “approved” and “off-limit” areas for playing. Review these rules each time your child goes out and take time to discuss why it’s best for them to avoid isolated parking lots, woods or unpopulated areas, and to never go with a stranger without your permission. Teach your child never to enter anyone’s home without your permission. Make it a rule for your child to stay in pairs or groups when they’re at the park, the mall, the movies or going to a bathroom in a public place.

Stress the importance of “telling” and make sure your child understands that adults do not keep secrets with children – especially not ones that make a child feel uncomfortable.

Talking to your child about strangers or potential dangerous situations can be difficult, but by providing them with practical information, we can prepare them as much as possible for the world around them without creating excessive fear or anxiety.

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