Street Smart

Keeping Safe in Crowds

Keeping Safe in Crowds

Any parent who has had a child wander away while in a crowded place knows that having a lost child is a very scary situation. Since kids are adventurous, having a lost child is relatively normal, but thankfully there are ways to protect their safety while you are out.

FOLLOWING are some tips on keeping kids safe and nearby while in a crowd.

  • Take a picture on your phone before you leave the house. If you are separated from your child when you are out, a digital photo from your phone (taken the day of the event or travel) can be utilised by police to immediately get your child’s face out to other law enforcement officials. In addition to their face, you’ll have a photo of exactly what they were wearing, as well as what they look like.
  • Teach children to identify help if they are separated from mum or dad. While it’s easy to tell children to find help, young children may have a difficult time understanding just what “help” means. To kids, any adult might mean help, and it’s important for parents to teach children just who they should be looking for. You can do this by pointing out policemen, firemen, or security guards when you are out. Teach children to recognise store employees as well (look for name tags or someone behind the counter).
  • All children should know their full name, address and telephone number.
  • Try to keep your kids in sight at all times. Never send them to the bathrooms alone, even if they’re old enough to use them without help.
  • If you are in a crowded location, establish an easy to find meeting spot just in case anyone gets separated from you.
  • Using a safety harness is another possibility to keep toddlers from wandering away, since in most cases, they aren’t old enough to know that it is dangerous to walk away.

If someone tries to snatch your child:

  • Teach your children to struggle with anyone whom they don’t know, or whom they don’t trust, if they are trying to grab or force the children to go with them
  • Tell children to make a lot of noise if they’re scared.  They have probably been told lots of times not to yell. Tell your children when they think they might be in danger, forget all of that advice! That’s the perfect time to be noisy!

Dealing with Strangers

When you’re walking home from school, a person in a car pulls up and asks you for directions. At the park, someone says he needs you to help look for his lost puppy. These people may seem friendly, but no matter what they say to you, they have one thing in common: They’re strangers. Most strangers aren’t dangerous and wouldn’t do anything to hurt kids. Unfortunately, though, some strangers can be dangerous, and it’s impossible to tell who’s OK and who’s not. A dangerous person doesn’t necessarily look scary or mean — the person might look nice.

That’s why it’s important to follow these basic safety rules all the time:

  • Stick With a Friend – it’s more fun and safer to do things with friends. Take along a buddy when you walk to school, bike around the park, or go to the store. Travelling with a friend whenever you can is a good idea, and travelling with a bunch of kids is even better.
  • Let Grown-Ups (and Only Grown-Ups) Help Strangers – it’s nice to help people. But remember: Strangers should ask adults, not kids, for help.
  • If a Stranger Pulls Up in a Car and Offers you a Ride, Don’t Get In. You probably know that rule, right? But that’s not all of it. It’s also important to avoid a stranger’s car completely. If a stranger asks you to look in the car, don’t do it. Don’t put your arm in the window to take something or point to something. Don’t agree to come closer to see a pet or to get a toy that’s offered.
  • If a Stranger Offers You a Toy, Some Candy, a Stuffed Animal, or Anything Else, Don’t Ever Take It. Even if it’s something you really want, if the offer is coming from a stranger, you should ignore the person and walk the other way.
  • If a Stranger Walks Up or Pulls Up in a Car and You’re Too Far Away to Hear the Person, Don’t Go Closer, Even If the Person Waves You Over. Just get away. Run the opposite way that the car is heading. Get to an adult you know, a police officer, a security guard, or one of your safe spots as fast as you can if the stranger comes toward you.
  • What If a Stranger Comes To Pick You Up From School, Sports, Dancing Lessons, or the Park? This is no different from any other time — a stranger is a stranger, so don’t get in the car. Even if the stranger says that your parents sent him or her, or that there’s an emergency and you must get in the car and go to the hospital, turn right around and tell an adult what happened. Your parents would have told you if someone else was coming to pick you up, and if an emergency really did occur, they would send someone you already know, not a stranger.
  • Even if The Stranger Knows Your Name, Don’t Be Fooled. There are lots of ways to find out kids’ names, even when someone doesn’t know them or their families.
  • Trust Your Instincts – kids need to follow the rules of street smarts all the time with every stranger, even if the situation seems fine. And if your instinct is telling you something is dangerous or just not quite right, get out of the area, tell an adult, or a police officer or call 000.

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