Security Check: 5 Rules for Stranger Safety

Don't Send Mixed Messages

Be careful not to undermine the safety lessons you've taught your kids. Take these three precautions:

  • Avoid talking to a child you don't know. Address the parent instead. Otherwise, your kids might think that it's okay for strangers to talk to them.
  • Even though it's cute, resist monogramming your child's name on his backpack or clothes. If a stranger addresses your kid by name, he may think he knows the person.
  • Don't push your preschooler to give a hug to anyone -- even relatives. Children need to realize that it's okay to say "no" when they feel uncomfortable.

Originally published in the January 2009 issue of Parents magazine.

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