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Neighborhood-safety Tips for Children and Caregivers

Allegheny County’s Safe Start program uses the Safety Kids, Inc. curriculum about Charlie Check-First to help kids learn how to protect themselves and be safe in a variety of situations. By following the tips below, kids can prepare themselves, and caregivers can prepare the children in their care, so they know what to do if someone approaches and tries to lure the child into a car or asks him/her to go somewhere with them.

For Caregivers

Tips for Keeping Kids Aware and Safe

  • Teach your child to always “CHECK FIRST” before s/he goes anywhere with anyone at any time for any reason. This includes going with relatives and people the child knows. They should always check first with the person who is caring for them at that time. If it is impossible to check with the caregiver, then the answer is “NO! You may not go.”
  • Teach your child, when s/he is outside, to always walk with at least one other person.  Groups of more than two are better.
  • When your child is outside the house, do not allow him or her to wear clothing or a backpack or other articles with his/her name visible on it. Children are more likely to trust someone who calls them by name.
  • Teach your child to stay more than an adult arm’s length away from any car that is occupied by a person trying to talk to him/her, so that they cannot be reached by the person inside the car.
  • Teach your child if someone encourages him or her to get into a car, to help find a lost pet, or to leave with them for any reason, s/he should yell “NO” as loudly as possible and run to the closest adult whom they know and trust. Yelling "No," also called the POWER NO, indicates your child has been prepared for the situation.
  • Teach your child to run in the opposite direction from the one the car is facing. It is harder to drive in reverse than straight ahead.
  • Teach your child their full name, address and if, there is one, the “best” phone number (including area code) to call in case of an emergency. If you make it into a song, younger children may be more likely to remember it. If no phone number is reliable, teach your child to call 911 for help.
  • Teach your older child to pay attention to the color and make of the vehicle and/or its license information (state and number), the physical characteristics of the person(s), and where s/he was when approached. Suggest that this information be written down as soon as it can be done safely.
  • Remind your child to call 911 to report any attempted luring.
  • Make a daily note of the clothing your child is wearing just in case you need to provide that information later.  Keep your child’s pdf.gif ID kit with a current school picture, or other recent photograph, handy.

Parents are now encouraged to avoid using the term “stranger danger.” It tends to induce fear. In addition, statistics show that it is more often someone the child knows, rather than a stranger, who inflicts harm. Besides, there are many ways an adult can convince a child s/he is not a stranger.

pdf.gif Tips for Keeping Kids Aware and Safe (Printer-friendly version of above information)

For Kids

Tips for Staying Aware and Safe

  • Always “CHECK FIRST” before you go anywhere with anyone at any time for any reason. This includes going with relatives and people you know. You should always check first with the person who is caring for you at that time. If it is impossible to check with your caregiver, then the answer is “NO! You may not go.”
  • Always have at least one other person with you when you are out walking.  If you are in a group, make sure everyone stays with the group and no one is left behind.
  • When outside your house, do not wear clothing or a backpack or other articles with your name visible on it. A person could read it and call you by name, hoping you’ll believe that they are to be trusted.
  • If someone tries to talk to you from inside his/her car, stay more than an adult arm’s length away from a car so that you cannot be reached by the person inside the car.
  • If someone encourages you to get into a car to help find a lost pet, or to leave with them for any reason, you should yell “NO” as loudly as possible and run to the closest adult whom you know and trust. Yelling "No," also called the POWER NO, indicates you are prepared for the situation.
  • Run in the opposite direction from the one that the car is facing. It is harder to drive in reverse than straight ahead.
  • If an adult tries to convince you s/he is not a stranger and that you can trust her/him, do not be fooled if you are not sure. You are right to yell “NO” and run away.
  • Learn your full address and, if possible, your primary caregiver’s “best” phone number.
  • Once you are in a safe place, write down as much as you remember about the car. What color was it? Was it a car, truck or van? How many doors did it have? Do you remember the license plate? Also, write down what you remember about how the person in the car looked and where you were when this happened. 
  • Remember you can call 911 for help or to report any attempted luring.

pdf.gif Tips for Staying Aware and Safe (Printer-friendly version of above information)

For more tips and helpful safety information, contact Safe Start at safestart@alleghenycounty.us;
or visit Safe Start web page and Safety Kids,Inc