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How to talk to kids about strangers

Sarah Caron is a Connecticut-based freelance writer and editor. She lives with her wonderful husband, two adorable kids and two funny beagles. Check out her food blog at Sarah's Cucina Bella.

Stranger danger

Does your child know how to stay safe around strangers? Jaycee Dugard's abduction has many parents worried about the safety of their children around strangers. As a parent, you want to protect your children in whatever way that you can. While you cannot control what anyone else will ever do, you can educate your children so they are prepared to face the reality and dangers of life. Here's how.


What you need to know about abductions

Hearing about child abductions makes us grip our kids a little tighter. But the fact is that child abductions are extremely rare. Kerskie, who tracks trends in abductions says that the majority of abductions happen to and from the school bus stop and are perpetrated by the noncustodial parent.

4 Steps for safety

What can parents do to ensure their kids are prepared?

  1. Know your digits: "Teach them your cell phone numbers and make sure they can recite those numbers in their sleep," says Balzac.
  2. Give kids clear directions to assess for danger: "This needs to be kept very simple. Never get into a car with someone you don't know. Never go off alone with someone you don't know. Stay in public and ask for someone to call your parents," says Balzac.
  3. Set cyber-boundaries: "Children are far more likely to run across strangers and uncomfortable/dangerous situations online than they are at the local park. The simple reality is that this generation of children spends a significant portion of their lives online ... [Parents] should be honest about the risks, set clear boundaries for online behavior and enforce them," says online safety expert Frederick Lane.
  4. Listening to the gut: "Encourage your child to follow their instincts when something does not seem right," says Kim Estes, director of education and outreach for P.E.A.C.E of Mind-Parent Education and Child Empowerment.

Tell us: How do you teach your kids street smarts? Comment below!

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