Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Safety Lesson

We've wanted to talk to the kids about stranger danger for a while but wanted to wait until they were just a little older. With our up coming trip to Disney (at the second busiest time of the year) we thought we better take the bull by the horns! It's not an easy conversation to have. I wish we had done it earlier because Mickey didn't seem to take it as seriously as Mason, but she did take in the information we gave her. Here's what we're doing or what we talked about.

1) Through RoadID.com I ordered velcro bracelets for both kids. They are adjustable (but meant for adults). Mason can wear his on his wrist but Mickey will need to wear hers on her ankle. They have reflective tape on them and an engraved steel plate with their information on it. I was able to include the information I wanted; Names, City & Province, home number and both of our cell numbers.

A friend of mine gave me another great idea. Take luggage tags with their important information and attach them to their belt loops on their pants. Fantastic!

2) We taught them how to scream. Sounds nuts...I know. Many parents of abducted children wish that they had taught their kids this lesson and how to fight back. For many people, a scary situation can be paralyzing. Mason really didn't want to scream and felt very unsure about it. Mickey had no problem and really opened up her lungs. She loved practicing. I though the neighbours were going to call 911. We turned it into a game. Heinrich went down the hallway and Mason had to scream until Daddy could hear him. Each time Heinrich went further and further away. Mason really loosened up and became a lot more comfortable with screaming.

3) We talked about stranger danger and that if someone were to force them to go with them that they should yell, "this is NOT my Daddy", "this is NOT my Mommy", "Call POLICE." 

4) We also talked about where to go for help. Heinrich also stressed that when they ask an employee of Disney (let's say) for help, that they should not let that person take them anywhere. They should stay put.

5) We talked about fighting. Not a pleasant topic, but necessary. If someone were to grab their hand or pick them up they are to scream, hit, kick, bite, poke the eyes, etc... anything they can do to hurt that person.
6) Just as a precaution we are also filling out an Identification Kit provided by the RCMP. In it parents can include a photo, hair sample (taken from roots), and fingerprints. 
7) Every morning of our trip we will also be taking a digital photo of what our kids are wearing that day.

8) Lastly, a good thing for your kids to know is a family code. It could be a word or phrase. If someone were to tell your kids that their parents sent them to pick them up, your kids would ask for the family code. If it's not given then they know not to go.


Joanna said...

Such a hard topic to talk about with kids - I get the shivers just reading about it. Good for you for addressing it, but certainly sad that we live in a world where we need to have those talks. Have fun at Disney!

Karen said...

Have you ever read Protecting the Gift by Gavin Debecker? If not I highly recommend it, and I have it.
We teach our kids to find a mom with kids who look like them (age wise) and ask her for help. The security guard issue is a scary one and it is hard to teach little kids to differentiate btn security guards and employees.
When we go somewhere we also take a picture of our kids face on and profile in their jackets and in their tshirts before we leave the parking lot. Each kid individually so that if they get lost we have those pictures available immediately.