Reminder for families ~ " Stranger Danger Safety", News (Tillsonburg Minor Hockey Inc.)

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Reminder for families ~ " Stranger Danger Safety"
Submitted By Jane Ann McLean on Sunday, September 21, 2014
With the start of another hockey season we wanted to remind families the importance of safety at the arenas.
Please make sure that your children know the importance of :
~ safety in numbers, if they are out of your sight, they are with others and not wondering around by themselves.
~ what to do if they are approached by a stranger, and reminder to never go anywhere with a stranger, no matter what.
The rest of the articles some tips for parents.
TMHI is looking forward to a safe and enjoyable hockey season!

 

Two Approaches to Avoid Stranger Danger

 

Please consider two approaches.

  • Teach your children how to behave when they need to approach a stranger
  • How to behave when a stranger approaches them when they are not with a safe adult caretaker.

 

Do not use scare tactics like “Never talk to strangers!” If they believe you they’re likely to become very clingy, fearful and may even have nightmares because they fear you can’t protect them. Later, after they’ve met many very nice strangers, they’ll start wondering why their parents told them a bunch of phony-baloney. Most children think in terms of “good and bad” people. But there is no easy way to tell by looking.

How to Teach Your Child Stranger Danger Safety

Teach them to respond appropriately to dangerous situations.

What to do, who to approach, if a child needs help:

  • Usually it is very safe to approach anyone with children
  • Someone who looks like a grandmother
  • Store personnel / arena staff
  • People in uniform, like police, fire, etc.
  •  Teachers, principals, librarians, doctors, etc.
  • Usually best to seek help in a public place.
  • Teach your child their name and a phone number (hard to do till near 5 years of age) so you could easily be notified if they are located by someone.
  • Teach them that if they feel bad or uncomfortable in any situation when they are without a parent or other safe person, they need to get away from where they are.
  • Teach them it is best to walk in groups, and not take shortcuts through back alleys or dark areas.
  • If they need to get away; go to a store, restaurant, library, or other safe, public places that are on the way your children often walk. Walk that way yourself so you know the area and can give specific examples of where to go for help.

What to do if approached by a stranger and they are NOT with a safe adult:

  • Teach them to stay a safe distance away. Of course, a small child has no clue what 6-7 feet away means.
  • Teach them that “Just in case the person falls forward, make sure you’re far enough away so that they don’t fall on you”. Practice at home, pretend you’re the stranger; take a step forward and stretch out your arms. Practice with your child to stand far enough away so that if you fell all the way forward, you would not reach them. Children can figure out proportions fairly well, but are not so good at memorizing feet & inches.
  • If an adult approaches, asking for help, teach them to learn the following phrase: “Wait right here while I get someone who can help you.” then run home. If the “needy stranger” is gone when you come out, call 911.
  • Don’t go to anyone’s house when invited for treats without parents.
  • Never accept a ride from someone if you don’t have permission from a parent.
  • If a stranger approaches saying your mom or dad sent him/her to bring you home, have a secret password. Often the abductor may be a “known” person-neighbor, delivery person, etc. that may be a molester. Child’s middle name, street name, grandma’s name, are good secret passwords that your child can easily remember. Keep it simple and easy. You don’t need “I Spy” type coded passwords. If the stranger does not mention the secret password, the child should call for help and never go with that person.
  • If an adult or older child wants you to touch parts covered by your bathing suit; run away and tell a parent or a safe adult. Don’t make such an issue of this that your child will be afraid of taking their clothes off at the doctor’s!
  • If an adult or older child tells you to keep a secret or do something your parents have forbidden, say “NO!” leave and tell a parent or safe adult.
  • Never accept candy or treats from strangers.
  • If a stranger happens to grab the child, have them become a screaming octopus. Instruct your child (and practice) “Wrap your arms and legs around anything, fence, bike, post, even the person’s leg (hard to run with a child wrapped around your leg!) and scream bloody murder.”
  • The older child may have a cell phone. Parent’s number should be on speed dial. If abducted, it’s probably best for the child not to speak obviously, keep the phone on and in a pocket. Parents should listen silently as possible and get the police involved immediately.

I have used the term stranger a lot, but that is for sake of simplicity. In fact, parents should think in terms of protecting their children from molesters or offenders. Stranger danger type programs have been around for decades, yet children often go willingly with strangers.

Sometimes the children simply get lost.

I like to suggest that every time you go into a large facility with your children; tell them what to do if you get separated.

Some ideas might be:

  • Stay where you are until I come back to you (Become rooted like a tree)
  • Go back to where you saw me last
  • Go to the nearest cash register
  • Ask a clerk or person in uniform (safe person) to help you
  • Don’t go to the bathroom or wander around or leave

 

 

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