How Do You Teach Your Kids To Stay Safe?

A misunderstanding can serve as an important reminder and an opportunity to talk to our kids.

The Chatham Township Police Department issued a Nixle Alert Monday afternoon warning that there had been an attempted luring of two teenage girls on Fairview Avenue that afternoon. A few hours later, the police determined that the "entire incident was a misunderstanding."

As parents breathe a sigh of relief, the reality is that we must teach our children how to stay safe when we are not with them. The last thing parents want to think about is a child abduction in the Chatham or Madison area.

Why not let this misunderstanding serve as an important reminder to check in with our kids and talk to them about what they should do if presented with a troublesome situation.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has some helpful tips and useful information for talking to your children; from "speaking openly" with your kids to not teaching "stranger danger" and teaching "your children that safety is more important than manners."

One of the top priorities of parents is protecting our children from harm. The best way to accomplish this is to keep talking to our kids. Parents can teach their children how to avoid a bad situation and how to protect themselves. 

To avoid misunderstandings, adults may want to check out: What Should You Do If You See A Child Who Appears To Be Lost? 

For more information and resources on child safety and missing children, please see the following:

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

New Jersey's Amber Alert Plan

Chatham and Madison Moms, we have some useful resources to review above but we want hear from you. How are you teaching your kids to stay safe?

Colleen Bohensky May 11, 2011 at 03:43 PM
I'm in a similar place as Elizabeth. My girls are 2 and 5... so they tend to be supervised at all times. They're not usually outdoors alone. That said... we're slowly getting close to times that they'll be on their own. Zoe is now (at 5) sometimes allowed to walk down the street to our neighbors house to knock on the door to ask if the girls there would like to play. We've made Zoe aware of certain rules that allow her to do this. She HAS to ask before going. She can only walk to their house... no further. If the girls can't play... she has to come right home. She knows that if she doesn't follow the rules... she won't be able to keep doing it. We've also allowed Zoe to go to restaurant restrooms alone like Elizabeth said. Slowly they get a little more independence. Mostly... we just talk talk talk. We have conversations about being safe. How to behave in crowded places (like the mall or even Disney). What to do if they get separated from us. How to find a "worker" and to ask for help. Just little things to help be prepared.
Elizabeth McConnell May 11, 2011 at 03:48 PM
I have also said to my kids that if they can't find a worker in a store or somewhere they might have become separated from us to approach a woman for help, rather than a man. That said, one time we came upon a lost little girl in a playground at a theme park where the slides end somewhere totally different than where they start (why do they do that?) and when I talked to her she was clearly really upset to be talking to a stranger and ran away!
Colleen Bohensky May 11, 2011 at 04:34 PM
We've also told Zoe to find another Mom if she needs help. Usually someone else with kids is happy to help.
Melissa Bartoli May 11, 2011 at 08:27 PM
I also tell my kids to find someone's mom if they become separated from me. My older two are still young as well but they want to do everything by themselves so we are taking baby steps with independence. Talking is key and "practicing" in safe situations is a wonderful idea, in my opinion.
Kerri May 12, 2011 at 12:03 AM
Thanks for including that link about what to do if you see a child who appears to be lost. I've heard a few men in particular who said they would be hesitant to help in a situation like that for fear of being accused of something untoward.


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