Summer is a great time to remind your children and teens about “Playing It Safe.” Here are Tracie Arlington’s tips for parents to keep kids from getting lost, teach caution around strangers, and overall teen safety.
Teaching your child to “stay where they are at” if they are lost is ONLY for getting lost in the mountains, desert or a sparsely populated area.
- Children must know who to go to if they are lost: families with children, employees they actually see working, or go into a business. GROUPS of people are safe, even if they don’t know them. Stay with people or go to people.
- Designate a meeting place should they get lost.
- Does your child know your phone number? If they are little, write it on a piece of paper and put it in their pocket. If you are at a beach without a lifeguard, write your number on their wrist or ankle with a sharpie pen.
- Stranger abductions are very rare, but if your child is taken, they have a 1% chance of coming home. Most child abductions occur within a quarter of a mile from a child’s home. Children have been taught, “Don’t talk to Strangers!” a better rule is, “Don’t even stop and listen!”
- When playing outside, it’s best to not play alone. Older children that travel alone should only do so if the area is heavily populated.
- Always walk or run against the flow of traffic! See the driver’s face.
- Never get in a car even if they see a weapon! Run and YELL “Stranger, 911!” If necessary, tell them to “Go Chihuahua Crazy!” and have a self-defense temper-tantrum. Yell and kick!!
- Keep a stranger or a car more than 5-arm lengths away or at least 20 feet. Keep mom or dad closer than 5-arm lengths.
- For toddlers and preschoolers, get a “child proximity” alarm. They are inexpensive.
- Teens seem to always be with their friends instead of family. Set up these safety rules before they are allowed to sleep-over at friend’s house, hang out with friends, and drive.
- Put GPS on your teen’s phone. There are dozens of Apps available.
- Your teen should have a “pass-word” with you and their friends. If they are somewhere and they feel uncomfortable, they can call or text you with the password. If they are at a social event and feel uncomfortable, they can text their friend the password to let their friends know they should leave.
- Tell your teen that alcohol and date-rape drugs are the #1 weapon used on a victim! NEVER leave a drink cup sitting around, even water.
- If your teen is spending the night at someone’s home, make sure you know the parents. Call the other parents to verify that your teen is in fact spending the night.
- If you leave your teen home-alone, set rules about having friends over. Always lock up alcohol, medications or any controlled substances.
Finally, the best defense to keep yourself and your kiddos safe is to attend a Play it Safe Summer Class to learn from the pros. You’ll learn invaluable self protection tools and and will have fun doing it.
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