Parents, Children and Communities Need to Talk About Stranger Safety
In light of the recent stories about child abductions or near abductions in our own Wyoming communities, and in Colorado, parents, guardians and caregivers need to know that teaching children about safety makes the difference. An analysis by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children showed that approximately 35 percent of attempted abductions of children occurred when the child was going to and from school or school-related activities.
Lynn Storey-Huylar, Director of Safe Harbor, a children’s justice center in Cheyenne believes, “Parents, caretakers and child care workers need to educate children on common lures used and how to react to these lures. Some of these include offering the child a ride, offering candy/money, asking children questions, and asking children to help them find a lost pet or for directions. It is OK to teach your children that if a stranger tries to take them somewhere, they can resist by kicking and screaming, running away and drawing attention by saying ‘this person is trying to take me away’ or ‘this person is a stranger!’ Our greatest priority as a society should be to protect our children. Knowledge and education is the key for turning fear in to action.”
Allison Anderson, program manager of Prevent Child Abuse Wyoming, says “There is never a right or wrong age to talk to children about how to deal with strangers. The world is constantly evolving and our conversations with kids have to evolve as well.”