“People Safety” To
Toddlers and Preschoolers
Long before they can talk or move on their own, babies are getting
lessons from their adults about what it means to be safe and to be
important. Our job as adults is to provide nurturing, love,
guidance, and protection. As toddlers and preschoolers start to
develop more mobility, understanding, and language, our job is also
to start teaching them how to be safe in their world and with other
Replacing Stranger Danger With Stranger
Safety: Kidnapping Prevention for Children, Teens, and Adults
“Stranger Danger” does not
protect anyone from being kidnapped or assaulted. Most violence is
caused by people we know, not by strangers. Also, believing that the
world is full of dangerous people called “strangers” is emotionally
unsafe for kids and adults alike. Instead of Stranger Danger, kids,
teens, and adults need to know about Stranger Safety and to be
prepared to use self-protection skills for avoiding and escaping an
assault both from strangers and people they know. We can protect
kids from most abduction attempts and other violence by learning
what to watch out for, by preparing kids with skills before letting
them go anywhere on their own without adult protection, and by
ensuring they have skilled adult supervision while their own skills
are still developing. Practicing Stranger Safety and self-protection
skills successfully helps to increase confidence, develop
competence, and reduce anxiety. Kidpower teaches how to do this in a
way that is not scary, but fun. Specific resources addressing
abduction and assault prevention in our Library, Books, and
Training/Consulting Services are below.
Protecting Children from
Safety with Strangers and People
Resisting the “Illusion of Safety”
What Adults Need to Know About
Personal Safety for Children
Is YOUR Child Prepared to Avoid and
Escape From Danger? Free Safety Checklist for Kids On Their Way
What Children Need to Know if They
Cannot Get Away at First
How to Pick a Good Self-Defense
Tools for Empowering Children to
Explore Their World with Safety and Confidence
Teaching Kids to Be Safe Without
Making Them Scared; Tips for Safety with Strangers and People
Written by Irene van der Zande, Kidpower Founder and Executive
Children’s personal safety skills, when supported, can help them
stay safe with most people most of the time. You can teach children
to be safe without scaring them – You just need to know how. Young
people are at risk of assault, abduction, and abuse even in caring
families, schools, and communities. Prevention is the key to
protecting children’s personal safety. The good news is that there
are simple and effective ways of teaching children how to protect
themselves that will work most of the time. Parents, teachers, and
other caregivers need to know that their children are more likely to
be harmed by someone they know than by a stranger. Children need to
have clear safety rules both for strangers when they are out on
their own and for setting boundaries with people they know.
Protect Your Child From Abduction:
Safety Checklist to Prepare Kids to Go Without Adult Protection
Written by Irene van der Zande, Kidpower Founder and Executive
A kidnapping can happen so quickly! On March 16, 2012, 15-year-old
Sierra Lamar disappeared near her home in Morgan Hill, CA sometime
between a text message sent to a friend and nine minutes later when
she didn’t show up to her school bus. Police have arrested a suspect
and are searching for her body. As our hearts go out to Sierra and
her grieving loved ones, we don’t want this tragedy to happen to
even one more child! This crime is the fault of the attacker, not of
Sierra or her family. While we don’t know exactly what happened to
Sierra, it is possible that self-protection and personal safety
skills might have protected her from harm. Before we let them go
anywhere without adult protection, we must prepare all children and
teens to recognize potential danger and make safe choices
immediately. Children and teens need to know how to: stay aware of
what they are doing even while texting; prevent someone acting
friendly and harmless from tricking them; be cautious even if
approached by someone you know; keep out of reach of someone in a
car when you are on the side of the road; and not to take a ride
even from an acquaintance without checking first. The instant they
think they might face danger, young people need to be prepared to
immediately react by moving away, yelling, running, making a scene,
and fighting to escape. Whether kids are going to visit a friend,
get something from the neighborhood store, or on their way to
school, they need to be prepared before they go anywhere without
This one-page Kidpower Safety For Kids On The Way To School
Checklist (download the pdf) that we’ve compiled for parents shows
how to TALK with your child, WALK with your child, and PRACTICE with
TALK together to make a Safety Plan so
your kids will know:
They are safest staying in groups
and, if they are younger, with an adult you select.
To always get permission from you or
another adult in charge before they change their plan about
going anywhere with anyone, whether it is a stranger or someone
To always get your permission about
where they go, who will be with them, and what they will be
That a stranger is someone they do
not know well, can look like anybody, and might know their name.
That most people are good and most
strangers are good, but they do not know what someone is like
just by how that person looks or acts.
To NOT get close to a stranger, talk
to a stranger, take anything from a stranger, or go with a
stranger – unless they have their adult’s permission.
If they are old enough to talk to a
stranger, to stay out of reach and not give personal
To move away toward safety and get help if someone makes them
feel uncomfortable or tries to approach them.
How to get help in an emergency from
people you’ve designated along their route.
To tell a trusted adult every time
someone makes them feel uncomfortable or scared.
together to determine:
The safest route to follow on the
way to and from school on foot, by bus, or by bike that will
avoid isolated places, difficult streets to cross, and other
Where to go and who to ask for help
if kids have a safety problem on route — preferably adults you
have introduced them to — in a church, store, neighbor’s house,
What to do if kids get lost, if they
cannot stay on their route, or if someone bothers them.
Each child’s safety readiness for
going on her or his own without adult supervision.
together until you are SURE your kids are prepared to:
Use their awareness to notice and
avoid safety problems from people, traffic, or other possible
Act aware, calm, and confident in
Move quickly out of reach from a
stranger or anyone who makes them feel uncomfortable.
Follow their safety plan even if a
friend tries to persuade them to do otherwise.
Find a place with people to help
them if they get lost or have to change their route.
Yell “NO! I NEED HELP!” and run to a
safe place to get help if they feel scared.
Yell, pull away, hit and kick to
escape from an attack.
Be persistent in getting help, even
if adults are busy or impatient.
Find and use a telephone so they can
call a trusted adult for help or 911 in an emergency.
Not sure WHAT to say or HOW to
practice? Kidpower offers a positive, practical approach to
teaching child and teen safety. The Kidpower Book for Caring
Adults gives step-by-step information on how to protect kids
from kidnapping, bullying, and abuse and shows how to empower
children and teens with skills for taking charge of their
Weekly E-Newsletter from
Environmental Health News
Environmental Health News is launching a
new way for you to keep track of news from around the world related
to children’s health. Once a week you can receive an e-newsletter
that highlights the top children’s health stories published by media
outlets worldwide. The articles are hand-selected by a staff of
journalists and researchers from the estimated 1,000 stories posted every week.
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