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What critical safety skills can I teach my child?

Michele Borba
Psychology
Here are some good safety skills to teach your child:

Establish a family secret code. Choose a memorable code like “Geronimo,” to give only to family members or trusted individuals responsible for your kids in your absence.

Emphasize to your child that she can always ask a stranger for help, but an adult stranger does not ask kids for help.

Do not open the door. Stress repeatedly to never open the door to someone who is not an immediate family member.

Teach 9-1-1. Make sure your child knows her first and last name, your first and last name, phone number, and address. Program your phone so your child can reach you and dial 9-1-1 instantly. Put a sticker on the “0.” Then teach how to dial “operator” to reverse charges, so she can call you from any phone anywhere.

Teach: “Drop, Holler, and Run.” Teach your child that if he ever needs to get away quickly, he should drop whatever he is carrying, holler, and run.

Retrain to yell, “STRANGER!” If possible, he should run to an adult (ideally a woman with children) screaming, “Help! This is a STRANGER!”

Use your gut instinct. Teach your child that if she ever feels he could be in danger, to use that fear instinct and leave immediately. You’ll support her.

Learn to recognize suspicious behavior. Instead of scaring (and possibly even confusing) your kids with the “Stranger = Danger” approach, experts suggest that a better way is to teach kids to recognize suspicious situations.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.