If you want to protect your child from exploitation, practice stranger danger games. Your child should know that a stranger is any person that he does not know. Not all strangers pose a threat. Some strangers are kind, but other strangers are bad people. Dangerous strangers don't look any different from anybody else. They can even seem nice in order to fool your child.
Role play the following situations with your child. These will teach your child about the various strategies that strangers use to kidnap and exploit children.
The oldest trick in the book: A stranger asks a child for help. Often, the stranger tells a child that he has lost a pet and asks for help finding it. Strangers might also ask a child for directions and then demand an escort to the destination, which leads to kidnapping.
Explain to your child that even though these seem like harmless situations, they might not be. Teach your child to tell strangers to ask grown-ups for assistance. If he encounters a stranger asking for help, he should walk away and notify an adult.
Family Emergency or Kidnapping Attempt?
Another popular kidnapping trick is to tell a child that his family needs help. Kidnappers tell children that a parent has been injured or that they are needed at the hospital to help a sibling. In reality, a more dangerous destination awaits.
Tell your child that you would never send a stranger to break this type of news to him. If your child is put in this situation, he should walk away and find an adult who will help.
The Injured Kidnapper
Sometimes, would-be kidnappers will make it look like they have had an accident. They will position themselves on the ground, covered in what looks like blood, and beg for help. Children are kindly and will naturally try to do their best to help people in need. Unfortunately, once a child has approached a stranger to offer help, it will be too late to escape a kidnapping.
Teach your child that he cannot help an injured adult on his own. If he encounters somebody who has been in an accident, whether it's a stranger or somebody he knows well, he should find a trusted adult and call 911 to get real help.
A Cute Pet or Kidnap Bait?
Children enjoy pets, and strangers know that will capture a child's attention. A stranger holds a small animal and invites the child to pet it. The stranger might even ask a child to go to his car or home to get pet food so the child can feed the animal.
Your child should walk away from the stranger and let an adult know what has taken place.
Once your child recognizes the tricks a stranger uses to attract attention, your child will have enough knowledge to protect himself.
Find out about the shortcomings in stranger danger programs and what you can do to help keep your child safe.
Stranger anxiety can be tough on parents and on relatives and friends who feel rejected by a baby. Use these strategies to make your baby feel comfortable.
One of the most important stranger safety facts for parents to know is that assaults and abductions by strangers are rarer than those committed by adults that children know.