Friday, December 28, 2007

Playing it safe - part 2

Remember those safety assemblies at school when you were a kid? Like when the firemen came and taught you to stop, drop and roll, and everyone got to crawl around on the floor and pretend the room was filled with smoke? I would go home, head full of important new information and wait for my house to catch on fire so I could put it to use.

Or how about when they talked about Stranger Danger and how to not be lured into someone's car just because they offered you candy? I took it pretty seriously.

One time when I was little (but old enough to have had the Stranger Talk at school), I was walking into the post office with my mom. Suddenly, a man I didn't know - a Stranger, you might say - offers me candy. Yikes! I'm thinking This is exactly what they warned me about!! I was too scared to say anything. Mom accepted the sucker on my behalf, thanked the postal worker and later talked to me about how I don't have to freak out if I'm with a parent. I kinda felt like Mom didn't really know about Strangers, though. After all, I was the one who had been through the special training.

Anyway, because of situations like that, people are rethinking the whole "Stranger Danger" thing. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) calls Stranger Danger "a myth."

McGruff the Crime Dog distinguishes "bad strangers" from "safe strangers." BTW, McGruff has come a long way since the coloring book pages of my childhood. He has his own website, downloadable wallpaper and a seldom-updated blog. (I checked to see if he had a myspace, and I found this. Does that seem a little sketch to anyone else?)

My earlier "Playing it safe" post focused on self-defense classes for kids. While I was researching that, I came across these additional resources for keeping kids safe:
  • The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has a great child safety FAQ. They also have a program called Prevention Works, which they offer to corporations for free.
  • The Child ID Kit stores information about your child, is small enough to keep with you, and, if it's ever necessary, you can give it directly to law enforcement officials so they have all the information they need immediately.

  • Youth Educated in Safety, Inc. has some good suggestions of things to talk about with your child - like protecting your personal space and when not to be helpful.
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Photos: 1) "Stop drop and roll" by Al Bakker. Creative Commons License. 2) Wallpaper from 3) "Karate kid" by Strollers. Creative Commons License.

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