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Friday, October 12, 2012

Tragedy's reminders

I don't know anyone in the Denver metro area who isn't absolutely sick over the horror of what happened to Jessica Ridgeway. Something so terrible should never happen to a child. The tragedy is a good reminder, though, of how vigilant we must be to keep our kids safe. Now before anyone gets upset or thinks I am blaming anyone, I'm not. I have no idea what safety measures Jessica's family had in place, and maybe Jessica did everything right. But let's make it as hard as we can for some sick person to harm our children.

When our kids asked about what was going on, we were honest with them, and we also took the time to remind them of our family's stranger rules. Every family needs to periodically review the rules with their kids.

Here are a few of the important items we covered with our kids:

  • NEVER go anywhere with anyone they do not know. If someone asks them to get in a car, offers them candy, or asks them to help find a lost pet, the answer is to yell, "NO!" as loudly as possible and run to the nearest safe place, where they will let a responsible adult know right away. There is NEVER an okay reason to go anywhere or get into a car with a stranger.

  • IF someone tells them that mom or dad sent them, that person will know the family code word. The kids are never allowed to share this word. If the person trying to get them to go with them doesn't know the word, the kids need to run away and go to a safe place and tell a responsible adult.

  • If someone tries to grab them and take them, they are to kick and scream and fight and bite and kick and make it as hard as possible for the person to take them.

  • If the kids are home alone, they are not allowed to answer the door PERIOD. We also do not allow them to answer the phone- we still have an old school answering machine. If we are calling the kids, they can hear us when the answering machine picks up. If someone enters our home, they have a safe place in the house to go and call 911.

What safety rules/tips do you use with your family?

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