A recent scare at Naperville’s Nichols Library in which a man tried to lure a five-year-old girl to come with him was an all too close to home scenario of stranger danger for local parents.
Mary Browning, a Crime Prevention Specialist at the Naperville Police Department says there are a few lessons kids and parents should learn to ward off danger.
The first tips are for the kids:
“The first principle is that we always check first before we go anywhere with anyone. So if mom and dad are suppose to pick you up at the swimming pool or pick you up at baseball practice and somebody else comes and says mom has a headache or dad couldn’t get here and take you home, they need to check first with mom and dad before they go with anyone,” said Browning.
Three simple words can help keep children out of scary situations.
“Say no, go, and tell. So here the whole premise behind this rule is so somebody comes up to you that you don’t know and offers you something, even if it’s something that you really want or really like was to tell them no, go and get away from the situation, run away if you have to and then tell a trusted adult,” said Browning.
It’s the parents’ job to make sure kids know who those trusted adults are.
“So if you have neighbors that you know and you trust, then you tell the child this is Mrs. Smith. She is our neighbor. If you have an issue or you get scared you can talk to her about it. Introduce them to your friends that live in your neighborhood that you feel comfortable with, go over to their friends house know that they can approach their friends’ moms and dads,” said Browning.
And those friends themselves are often vital to safety. Having a buddy around is key – a child who is alone or unattended can be a target.
Browning also recommends role-playing with your child so they can practice how to behave in different situations.
But in the worst-case scenario, the best bet for kids to get to safety is to make as much commotion as possible.
“Scream, yell, wave your hands, because the whole idea is to bring attention to yourself. So one of the really big safety rules that we tell older children like in elementary school is that you need to keep yourself in places where you can be seen and heard,” said Browning.
A lesson for parents and kids to keep pushing their way to safety.
Naperville News 17’s Alyssa Bochenek reports.
WANT TO STAY INFORMED?
Get daily news headline stories delivered right to your inbox!Sign Up Today!