The Parent-Teacher-Child Connection: Kids on the Streets

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Kids on the Streets

Now that summer is here, how young is too young to let your child roam the streets on foot or on bicycle?  The answer is now easy, but the folks at the Kidproof blog offer some valuable suggestions for your child's safety:
  • Experts agree that kids younger than 10 don’t yet have the street smarts to respond to an emergency or sniff out danger by themselves, so it’s best to keep little ones close to home.
  •  For an older child, look for signs of maturity. Before you let him out of view, you’ll want to see that he’s generally responsible with things like homework and chores, reacts well to surprises, follows the rules, avoids unnecessary risks, knows basic safety rules and first-aid, and plays it safe when dealing with strangers. 
  • Consider your neighborhood. Do you know lots of friendly, trustworthy neighbors who would be willing to help in an emergency, is there much crime in the area, and are you near any major streets?
Here is a disturbing statistic: the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children found that 43 percent of attempted abductions involved kids ages 10 to 14. Sixty-eight percent involved a suspect in a car or truck, who would most often offer the child a ride, hold out candy or sweets, ask for help with an animal, offer money or ask for directions. A kid who knows these tricks and can avert the advances will stay safe. 

Teach your child to always take a friend with them on walks or bike rides, and to stay in plain view, avoiding shortcuts through alleys or other dark or isolated areas. If someone tries to grab him, he should yell “Help! This person is trying to take me!” while he walks runs, yells, kicks, bites or does anything he needs to do to resist.

Remind your child that it’s important to tell you or another trusted grown-up about anything that’s bothering them. Keep a conversation going about safety issues, and share newspaper articles or stories from your own childhood. Once you’ve talked it all through, practice basic skills with role playing, or make a game of it, quizzing your child with “What would you do if…” questions.

Most important, be an active parent. Know where your child is, and who he’s with, at all times. If he’s visiting a friend’s house, have him send you a quick text message when he gets there, when he heads home, or if there’s a change of plans. Enforce any curfews, ask him how his day went, and get to know his friends and their families. Model good behavior by letting him no when you’re running late.

Knowing that you’re looking out for him will help him feel safe and confident – and ready to explore your little corner of the world.

(Original Kidproof blog by Audrey Brown)  For more updates like this, go to
Also read "Child Abductions: How to Protect Your Children."

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