For and Against The Stranger
Summer Safety Tips, Part 2
by Tracy Lamperti, LMHC, BCETS
What to do if a stranger approaches you.
While it is ok for a child to approach a stranger for help (see below), it is not ok for an adult to approach a child for help.
A child should be taught;
1. They should stay farther away from a stranger than the stranger’s reach,
2. It is ok to back away from a stranger and it is ok to say “NO” to a stranger,
3. Never go to a person that they don’t know who is calling them over. A stranger with wrong intentions may ask a child if they want to see the puppy in their car, or some candy, or “I know your dad, can you give him
something for me.”
4. Never to give out information about themselves to someone they don’t know, such as, “What is your name?” “Do you live in this town?” “Isn’t your mom’s name …..?” People with wrong intentions are testing
all the time.
They know they can’t get what they want from some, but not all children, so they have to do a lot of testing in ways that seem like “normal” interactions to find the one that will take the bait.
They might try the same question with 20 children before they get the one who will come over to see the puppy. Then they try a level two test.
Experts conducted tests using a “lost puppy” technique to lure Small children who have been taught to never go with a stranger. To the amazement of the parents (who were looking on and knew their child was part of a
test), the technique was very successful. Once they throw the bait, they hook the child and then set the hook. They lure the child farther away with each strategy.
What to do if you get lost.
Almost every adult has a story about getting lost as a child, either themselves or someone they know, whether it was a crowded area, an area with racks higher than themselves, or somewhere else.
When children have been given instructions and a chance to practice, if this unfortunate event happens they will be less afraid and better able to take the best next step.
Step 1 - The first thing a child should do when they realize that the adult they are with is not in sight, is to take a few breaths while they calmly scan as far as they can see in all directions while standing in one spot.
Step 2 - Children should be taught to know what to look for in a helping person. The safest people to ask for help from are; (1) someone behind a desk or using a cash register; (2) someone wearing a uniform or name tag; (3) an adult with children; (4) a person who looks “old” in a child’s opinion. Finding a helping person should be done from the spot where you are. Children should not go wandering looking for their parent or a helping person.
Step 3 – Children should say, “My mom (or whoever they were with) is lost, will you please find her for me.” Or, “I need help finding my mom.” Children should be taught NOT to leave the area with anyone. The parent will retrace their steps looking for the child, and the child cannot be sure the helping person is safe.
Step 4 – Children should be able to recite their parent’s phone number and address as well as their parent’s first and last name.
Have a wonderful and safe summer, whether you are staying here on beautiful Cape Cod or traveling!
Please see www.tracylamperti.com for more information about working with children and families or specifically
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