Would your child know how to escape a dangerous situation? Former FBI agent Clint Van Zandt
recommends 10 very important strategies any child can use.
10 safety tips parents should know
- Do not get into any car unless your parents personally tell you to. Also, stay away from anyone who follows you on foot or in a car. You do not need to—and should not—go near a car to talk to the people inside.
- Grown-ups and other people who need help should not be asking children for help—they should be asking older people. Adults should not be asking you for directions or to look for a "lost puppy," or telling you that your mother or father is in trouble and that they will take you to them.
- Quickly get away from anyone who tries to take you somewhere. Yell or scream, "This person is not my father (or mother)."
- You should use the "buddy system" and never go places alone. Always ask your parents' permission to leave the yard or play area—especially if you're going into someone's home.
- Never, never hitchhike! Do not try to get a ride with people unless your parents have told you it is okay to do so.
- People should not ask you to keep a special secret. If they do, tell your parents or teacher. Also, tell anyone who wants to take your picture, "No," and quickly tell your parents or teacher.
- No one should touch you on the parts of the body covered by your bathing suit, nor should you touch anyone else in those areas. Your body is special and private.
- You can be assertive, and you have the right to say "No" to someone, including adults and even relatives or friends who try to take you somewhere against your will, touch you or who make you feel uncomfortable in any way.
- Many parents use a special code word that only the child knows to convey a message, should someone other than a parent ask a child to accompany them anywhere.
- Practice a special yell. It is low, loud and long. It tells the person trying to hurt the child, "I know what to do! I'm not an easy victim!" It tells everyone within the sound of the child's voice, "I need help!" It gets the child going, it breaks the "spell." A child should not panic and freeze, thereby becoming immobile in an emergency. When you yell, you take a deep breath, thereby getting oxygen and energy to your brain and muscles. Your own yell can give you courage and get your feet moving when you need to run away!