Child Safety Information

"Talking With Your Child About Strangers"


Everyone has a right to personal safety. As parents, we need to teach our children about this right and the responsibility that goes with it. In most cases, a child will not report an incident with a dangerous person until more than a week later. Often the child fears that their parents will be angry and punish them for what has happened. Let your child know that any such situation is not their fault and that they will not be punished. Emphasize that is OKAY to run away and attract attention by screaming if they are in a scary or dangerous situation. Let your child know that at these times traditional manners can be ignored. Report any unusual happenings or suspicious activity to a law enforcement officer at once.

Be aware

that a dangerous person, child molester, or child abductor, can be anyone. Children must be taught the importance of being aware of potentially dangerous people and how to react to these situations. You can help protect your children by always being on the lookout for potentially dangerous people no matter where you are.

Beaches and Swimming Pools - Arcades and Movie Theaters - Parks and Playgrounds - Public Restrooms - Shopping Malls - Busses - Planes - Trains

Set aside a time to talk to your children about dangerous people. Gear the talk to your children’s own level of understanding and keep everything you say simple. Be straight forward, yet caring. Never use scare tactics during your talk. Explain without frightening the sensitive child.

Know where your children are at all times. Be sensitive to situations where children could find themselves in danger, such as being left alone in a car or a toy department. Know the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of your children’s friends and be involved in their activities. Notice if your children do not want to be with someone and ask why.

Explain that a dangerous person is someone you do not know. Tell children to ask themselves these questions:

Have I ever seen this person before?
Do I know this person’s name?
Emphasize that dangerous people may only pretend to be nice. They try to trick children so they can possibly do bad things to them. Dangerous people can be big or small, old or young. They can be men or women, boys or girls. Be alert if someone pays unusual attention to your children.

Explain the many situations children may find themselves in when a dangerous person might approach them, and the proper action to take. Teach your child the “safe” places to go to near your home in case you are not there.

Talk about the many lures used by these people to get children to go away with them, such as: offering candy, money, presents and pets (especially help finding lost pets). Never put your children’s names (first or last) on the outside of clothes as children are more likely to respond to someone who knows their name.

Caution your children to never enter a car or home of someone other than a trusted adult whom you have discussed. Explain why they should only play with friends in supervised areas, never in vacant buildings, vacant lots or alleyways.

Emphasize that it is OKAY to run away and attract attention by screaming in scary situations. Explain that traditional manners can be ignored at these times. Practice with your children yelling for help.

Remind your children to always and immediately report any unusual people or situations they encounter to you, a law enforcement officer, or some other trusted adult.

REMEMBER: Let your children know that you are willing to talk and listen to anything they may want to report. Never underestimate any fears or concern your children tell you about.