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March 22, 2011 > What to teach kids about safety

What to teach kids about safety

By Meenu Gupta

A long list of important safety lessons for kids is of constant concern: watch before crossing the street; buckle up; don't talk to strangers and don't post personal information online. Safety tips can't be reiterated enough; safety should be a daily habit.

Children meet strangers every day in stores, in the park, and in their neighborhoods, while most of them are good, some of them may be nefarious. Parents can protect their children from dangerous strangers by teaching them about safety and suspicious behavior, and taking a few precautions of their own.

"Often times, young children aren't aware of crime and safety," said Geneva Bosques, Fremont PD.

"Kids are more focused on a new video game, riding bikes or playing with their friends. Unfortunately, kids can get hurt and/or become the victim of crime." Kids should be taught to keep track of their possessions - bikes, games, sports equipment, and other valuables and never leave them unattended. Using locks on bikes is advisable. "Don't brag and show off money or other valuables," said Bosques.

It is safer to go out with a friend whenever possible and avoid going out at night alone. Always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be there. Be aware of who and what is going on around you. Avoid alleys and shortcuts that take you out of view. Don't accept rides from someone you don't know.

When leaving your child, aged ten and above at home make sure he/she knows how to use all the doors, windows, and locks and keep them locked. With some planning and a couple of trial runs, staying home alone can be a positive experience for the kids and less anxious one for the parents. Name and phone number of a trusted adult should be placed by the phone as an emergency contact person. Having an adult or trusted neighbor to go to is a good option if they must leave the house.

Perhaps the best way parents can protect their children is to teach them to recognize suspicious behavior and how to act when in a dangerous situation. If harassed by someone in a car, a good idea is to turn around and go in the opposite direction. It is smart to pre-plan and know places on the route, to get help, if needed. If you think you are being followed go to a public place.

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