Tips for helping keep our kids safe
Recent events in our overseas communities have raised red flags for parents and caretakers. The U.S. Army Directorate of Emergency Services has tips for helping keep our kids safe at European duty stations.
Tips for parents
- Your child should always carry some sort of identification, such as a DOD ID card, in a secure place (not attached to a backpack).
- Your child should always carry important telephone numbers and emergency contact information.
- Map your child’s route to and from school together, and walk with him/her periodically.
- Make sure your child follows this route with no deviations unless he/she gets your permission first.
- Teach your child how to use the telephone in order to dial 112.
- Avoid allowing your child to wear clothing or backpacks/bags with their names clearly displayed.
- If you leave your child with a babysitter, ask your child about his/her experience.
- When using a babysitter, make sure to check for references.
“Stranger danger” tips for kids
- Always tell your parents where you are.
- Try not to walk anywhere alone.
- Don’t take shortcuts through wooded areas.
- Bad people don’t always look “mean” or “scary.”
- Don’t get close to strangers.
- Don’t tell strangers your name or address.
- Never go with a stranger to look for a lost pet.
- Never get into a car with anyone you do not know.
- Never enter someone’s home without a parent.
- If a stranger bothers you, run away and find help from a teacher, police or fireman.
- Know safe places you can go (police or fire stations).
- If a stranger follows or grabs you, yell loudly.
- If anyone touches you in a bad way, say “No!”
- Tell your parents about places you don’t feel safe.
- Talk with your parents and come up with a secret code word for situations you feel uncomfortable with.
- If you need help from a stranger, if possible find a teacher or police officer.
- Never open the door for a stranger.
- Never tell anyone that you are home alone over the phone.
Develop a “Family Secret Code Word”
Come up with a family secret code word to communicate with your child in the event of an emergency or identify the safe pick-up of a child. A guardian relays the secret word to the child to let him/her know it’s safe to depart with the individual. Ensure the secret code is only known by guardians and children.
Parent and child discussion questions
1. What is a stranger?
A person you and your parents do not know.
2. How might a stranger try to fool you into getting into their car?
By telling you that your parents couldn’t come so he/she was sent to come and get you.
3. How can you protect yourself?
By asking the person the family’s secret code word.
4. What should you do when/if someone brings a package to your home while you’re home alone?
Most mail is delivered through the on base post office. Do NOT answer the door for strangers/deliveries.
5. Is it safe to accept gifts from strangers?
6. If a stranger stops his/her car and asks for directions, what should you do?
Stand at a good distance from the vehicle. If the person asks you to come closer, do not.
7. If you become separated from your family in a store or mall, what should you do?
Tell someone who works in the store that you are lost. Do not wander.
8. What should you do if someone grabs you and starts taking you out of the store?
Yell “I don’t know you!” and keep yelling.
9. In an emergency, how can you call police or fire?
Download the FBI’s Child ID App
The FBI now has a free app to help parents in the unlikely event that a child goes missing. For more information, continue reading on StripesEurope.com.