How to Talk to Your Child about Safety

What are the most important things a parent should tell a child about safety practices?

  1. Children should always check first with you or a trusted adult before they go anywhere, accept anything or get into a car with anyone. This applies to older children as well.
  2. Children should not go out alone and should always take a friend with them when they go places or play outside.
  3. It's okay to say no if someone tries to touch them or treats them in a way that makes them feel scared, uncomfortable or confused. Tell them to get out of the situation as quickly as possible.
  4. Children need to know that they can tell you or a trusted adult if they feel scared, uncomfortable or confused.
  5. Children need to know about their right to be safe and that there will always be someone to help them.

Parents should choose opportunities or "teachable" moments to reinforce safety skills. If an incident occurs in your community, and your child asks you about it, speak frankly but with reassurance. Explain to your children that you want to discuss the safety rules with them, so that they will know what to do if they are ever confronted with a difficult situation. Make sure you have "safety nets" in place, so that your children know there is always someone who can help them.

Tips reprinted from Know the Rules...General Parental Tips to Help Keep Your Children Safer. Copyright © 2000 National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). All rights reserved.

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