By Bob Kahn
Is stranger danger still an affective method of keeping kids safe?
If it wasn't for the stranger danger program here, we would be missing children in our county. The sheriff's office has 28 documented foiled abduction attempts since I started this program.
If not, what other methods can be used?
Parents need to teach that anyone the child doesn't know is a stranger. Most strangers don't want to hurt children. The problem is we don't know who is a good, or a bad, stranger.
What are the dangers of hugging strangers?
If it is a bad stranger, they can take the child in a microsecond. Even if it's a normally good stranger, what if they are drunk? Alcohol changes a persons perception and we may end up with a good touch/bad touch incident, or worse.
Children need to know only to hug people that are well known to the family, not strangers.
How do you balance teaching a young child to be a loving, affectionate human being with keeping them safe from bad elements?
A child can be loving and caring to adults they know, and the family knows, well. Strangers shouldn't be included in this list.
What can parents say to children that they will understand in order for a child to stop hugging strangers but not become fearful or harm their affection for others?
Teach him the rules from Too Safe for Strangers:
1. Most strangers will just say hello or hi to a child, not hug the child.
2. Stay with a trusted adult.
3. Strangers need to talk to adults if they have things to give the child, ask for help, or need any advice. Good strangers follow this rule and won't ask children.
Teach him the two main safety tips:
1. Before going anywhere, always ask your parents if you can go.
2. Never get into anyone's car unless you ask your parents every time.