Children of all ages should be taught these skills any time they feel unsafe:
Children who feel unsafe should yell "NO!" -- whether it's to stop a bully, a molester, a kidnapper or anyone else from hurting or threatening them.
Teach children to run away from danger and run toward safety for help. Tell them to look for a well-lit area with people around, such as a store, restaurant or gas station. They can also run home if they know someone will be there, or to the house of a neighbor or Block Parent if you have that in your neighborhood.
The "Special Safety Yell" (see below) is a deep sound that signals to other people that the child needs help.
Here's how the Yell works: The Special Safety Yell is special because it should only be used when you are in trouble and need help. It's not for play. It's a Special Yell because it has a special job -- helping to keep you safe.
LOW YELL - Comes from your tummy, not your throat. It sounds deep, like a dog growling. But instead of making a "grrrr..." noise, you make a low "huh" sound. The Yell is different from a screech you make while playing with friends. This is a real YELL that lets adults know you need help right away.
LOUD YELL - Take a very deep breath and let your Yell be the loudest it knows how to be. When you need help fast, you don't have to be shy or polite.
LONG YELL - If you take a deep breath, your Yell can last a long time. Let it last as long as your breath lasts. Then, take another deep breath, and do the Yell again while you are getting away to safety and finding someone who can help you. The Special Safety Yell says some very important things.
Your yell tells the person trying to hurt you, "I know what to do! I'm not an easy victim!" A bad guy doesn't want anyone to see what he's trying to do. He doesn't want people to have a description of him or his car and give it to the police. Sometimes the Yell by itself is enough to scare away someone who is trying to hurt you. And sometimes it surprises or shocks the bad guy for a few seconds -- that might be just long enough for you to escape and run to safety.
The Yell says to everyone who can hear you, "I need help." Sometimes if just one person comes running to help you, the person trying to hurt you will run away. Sometimes other children hearing you do your Yell will do their Yell, too, and that brings even more people out to help. When someone wants to hurt you, they usually try to do it in secret, because they don't want anybody to be able to help you. Your Yell changes that.
The Yell will break the freeze and fear. When people are in danger and scared - they freeze. That's one of the worst things you can do. When you take a deep breath, you are getting oxygen and energy to your brain and your muscles. That will help you think and figure out how to get away. When you hear your own Yell, it will give you courage. And don't forget you can yell and run at the same time. You can start running to safety at the same time you start your Yell. Practice your Special Safety Yell at home and let your neighbors know you're practicing.
Impress upon children that they must tell their parents, teacher or other trusted adult if something bad happens to them - no matter what. Explain to them calmly that they should tell an adult they trust - even if someone tells them not to, threatens to hurt their family, tells them they won't be believed or they'll lose their parents' love. Reassure children that they are loved unconditionally and they will never be blamed for something another person does to them, no matter what it is.
Although parents sometimes doubt that small children can apply the self-protection lessons they have learned, prepared children can do a lot to cope with dangerous situations.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people
can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
- Margaret Mead
It takes an entire neighborhood to keep children safe. Create the same safety nets for your kids that you and your neighbors do for your homes.
A neighborhood Child Safety Committee is a great way to create safety nets for neighborhood children. The neighborhood crime prevention group can coordinate a separate committee, or the group-at-large can choose child safety as its main focus. The Child Safety Committee's main job is to identify safety hazards and crime problems in the neighborhood and work to protect children.
By developing a Block Parent Program, you assure children of a safe haven in times of danger. Highly visible signs reading Block Parent should be prominent in windows and on doors. The Block Parent must promise to help children who come to the door needing help.
What if your child has been approached by a stranger, harassed by older kids, frightened by an animal or caught in a storm. If kids are lost, or someone has witnessed an accident or crime - they can go to the Block Parent. The Block Parent cares for the child until parents or police arrive. Block Parent programs help to make neighborhood children safer - even if there's no emergency. A Block Parent sign alone can often deter kidnappers and pedophiles.
Block Parents can be recruited by neighborhood associations, civic organizations or school-based parent groups. You'll want to expand your neighborhood group beyond your immediate area to find Block Parents, because children who live on your block often pass through a different neighborhood when they walk to and from schools, parks, recreation centers and grocery stores in the community.
Your local police or the school district can connect you to a Child Safety Committee, to an existing Block Parent program, or help you start one. You should ask local police to run a cursory background check on volunteers before they can be officially named as Block Parents.
It's easy to find parents - they're at schools, supermarkets, playgrounds, malls, etc. Use these places as a recruiting tool for new Block Parents. List announcements in school newsletters or the local newspaper as to where and when your Committee will be registering Block Parents. Prepare and distribute fact sheets explaining the program to parents, local schools, community centers, etc. A week before registration, a member of your Child Safety Committee should visit the local school and explain the program to young students. The children can take home the fact sheet and encourage their parents to participate.
When people volunteer to be potential Block Parents, let them know the length of time they expected to commit. Most Block Parents will serve for a year at a time, from the beginning of one school year to the next - however there is no rule as to the length of service for volunteering.
Tell potential volunteers they will need to be cleared through a police background check. The extent of the investigation by police will depend on the policies and resources of your local department. Usually, the police will check to see if the potential Block Parent has prior arrests. This check may or may not show arrests in other states. Do realize that police are not allowed to divulge the contents of a person's crime file to the public, which means they cannot tell you or your neighbors if someone has a record. For the most part, all of the volunteers on the list receive police clearance and the list is returned to the neighborhood group.
Individual Block Parent volunteers can also get their own clearance letter from the police department. They'll have to present a driver's license or similar identification and pay a small fee for the police department to run a check and issue the letter. Only volunteers with clearance letters should be accepted as official Block Parents.
If most of the adults in your neighborhood work, it may be difficult to find parents who stay home enough to form a Block Parent program. In those instances, the safety committee can try to recruit neighbors with home businesses, or those who are retirees or shut-ins, whether or not they have children of their own.
For any Block Parent program to be successful, children must understand what it entails. Children must know that they can turn to the Block Parent when they are in serious trouble. It's a good idea to plan a small party for the kids in the neighborhood and teach them about the Block Parent Program. Committee members should also make short presentations about the program in classrooms and at student assemblies. Ask those serving as Block Parents have an open house to introduce themselves to the children and familiarize the children with the house. Write down information about strangers in your neighborhood.
Write down information about strange vehicles in their neighborhood.
Call the police immediately if someone is screaming or being chased by anyone. When the police it is very important to give the call taker an accurate description of the suspect along with any vehicle used.
Information is a key element in child abuse prevention. The more informed you are, the more you can help your child and ALL of America's children. Learning and Understanding are also key elements in the fight against child abuse. Learn as much as you can. Join in the fight against child abuse.
Every 10 seconds a child is abused. Child abuse kills 3 children every day. Child abuse has many faces . sadly its not always a stranger's face.
Understanding Child Abuse Is The Best Prevention!
Knowledge is one of the solutions to child abuse.
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