Protecting Children from Violence

Children have a natural trust in people, especially adults. It's sometimes hard to teach children to balance this trust with caution. But it's important that children know common sense rules that can help keep them safe, while building the self-confidence they need to handle emergencies.

Start with the Basics:
  • Make sure children know their full name and address (city and state), and their phone number with area code.
  • Be sure kids know how to call 9-1-1 or "0" in emergencies. Practice making emergency calls on a make-believe phone.
  • Tell children never to accept rides or gifts from someone they or you don't know well.
  • Teach children to go to a store clerk, security guard, or police officer for help if they get lost in a mall or store, or on the street. 

At School and Play
  • Make sure your children are taking the safest route to and from school, stores, and friends' houses. Walk the routes together and point out places they could go for help.
  • Set rules and guidelines for your child's internet use, monitoring the child's use of on-line services.
  • Instruct your child to never give out personal information to anyone they talk to on-line.
  • Advise your child not to arrange a face-to-face meeting without your permission with anyone he/she meets on-line.
  • Encourage your children to walk and play with friends, not alone. Tell them to avoid places that could be dangerous like vacant buildings and alleys.

At Home
  • Always leave a phone number where you can be reached. Post it by the phone, along with numbers for a neighbor and for emergency situations.
  • Have your child check in with you or a neighbor when he or she gets home.
  • Make sure your child knows how to use the window and door locks.
  • Work on an escape plan in case of fire or other emergencies. Rehearse the plan with your children.
  • Tell your child never to let anyone into your home without your permission, and never let a caller - at the door or on the phone - know that there's no adult home. Kids can always say their parents are busy and take a message.