"Street proofing" safety tips
It is important to have ongoing conversations with children and teens about staying safe when they are away from home. Here are several tips to get the conversation started:
- Know your home address and landline phone number.
- Know how to contact your parents on their cell phones or at work.
- Know how and when to call 9-1-1 in an emergency from a landline phone and from a cell phone.
- Establish a secret word for your family. This should be used in emergencies to identify a ‘safe person’ other than their parent or caregiver.
- Play what if games with younger children to reinforce these safety messages.
In the community:
- If possible, give your child a cell phone when they are away from home.
- Children and teens should play and walk to places with a buddy. If they become separated or lost, they should tell someone with a nametag (e.g. a cashier or security guard) immediately. If there is no one with a nametag, preferably, they should tell a female.
- Avoid long conversations with strangers. If someone you do not know asks you personal questions, such as:
Where do you live?Do not answer! Run away or leave the situation immediately.
- It’s okay to say no to adults who ask you to do something for them, such as: help them find a lost pet, join them in an activity or game, or give them directions.
- Never walk with or accept a ride, money or gifts from strangers or even someone you may know, without checking with your parents. Keep a safe distance (two arm lengths) from strangers and cars that approach you.
- If a person tries to grab you - scream loudly, make a lot of noise, and try to create a disturbance (e.g. knock things over, scatter belongings, kick wildly). Shout,
Help, this person is not my parent!Run to a safe location, like an open store.
- If a vehicle is involved, try to take notes describing the suspicious vehicle, license plate, and the stranger’s description. Call 9-1-1 for help.
- If you are taking a public bus, always sit near the bus driver.
- Reduce the use of headphones or use of electronic devices that can distract you from your surroundings when you are walking.
Additional personal safety messages for children are available through Safe at play.
Basic road safety tips should always be reinforced at all times of the year.
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