Last September, we took a moment to remind parents of the importance of teaching street sense to our kids. The post was inspired by the heartwarming story of 3-year-old Kienan Hebert who was safely returned to his family following a horrific abduction.
As a new parent, I think it important to revisit the topic of “stranger danger” and street safety.
CBC news article Streetproofing your kids reports that an abduction can occur by anyone.They can be a close friend, neighbour, uncle, grandparent, or another family member. In 2007, 71% of children abducted by strangers were taken from their family or foster home.
The National Missing Children Services reports that the vast majority of child abductions are by the very people they may know best: their parents. In 2007, there were 285 parental abductions in Canada compared to 56 stranger abductions. Nearly half of all parental abductions involved children under the age of 5.
The RCMP lists valuable tips for families to consider when trying to ramp up the street sense for our kids:
- Teach children their name (especially their last name), address telephone number and parents’ names, places of work and contact numbers. Also teach children how to Dial 911 at home and from a public telephone in an emergency situation. Keep in mind that the extent of information learned will depend upon the child’s age and maturity level.
- Insist that very young children hold the supervising adult’s hand continually while walking to and from stores, play areas, school grounds, camping and the like. Older children should stay close by the parent.
- Children must be taught not to wander away from you in public places or play “hide and seek”. If they become separated or lost, teach them to tell someone with a name tag, a cashier or a security guard right away, preferably a female.
- Encourage children to travel in groups, regardless of their age. The popular “buddy system” works best.
- Insist that children check with you before accepting a ride, gift or candy from someone, even if they know the person. Children should be told that adults do not ask children for help.
Click here to read the entire list.