- Use the buddy system; go in groups.
- If you are separated in a store, Freeze and Yell your buddy's (parent's) first and last name. You may ask a clerk or a parent with children to go get help for you, but stay where you are.
Children should do things with a BUDDY! A buddy can be Mom, Dad, a friend, a sibling, etc. Ride bikes with a buddy, walk down the street with a buddy, go to the park with a buddy---it is always safer to be with a buddy.
Children should use a buddy when using a public restroom! This is especially important if you are in a building where the restroom is near an exit door. The parent can easily stand outside the door if the child is of the opposite sex. If you are standing outside you may even want to carry on a conversation with the child through the door (or crack the door just a bit).
Parents: make sure your child knows your first and last name! It is not as helpful in a store to hear a child yell, "Mom" as it is to hear "Jane Doe."
Teach your child to FREEZE and YELL the buddy’s first and last name if separated. Practice this in a store.
When you go to an amusement park, major event, etc. point out to your child what the employees are wearing. They usually have a uniform or color scheme that is easily identifiable. Children should not go off with an employee, but they could ask one to go and get help. Decide upon a meeting location "just in case" you need it.
If you see a child who is lost, do NOT try to comfort the child by putting your arm around him or her or taking the child's hand to lead him or her away to find the missing parent or buddy! If that child has been taught any safety at all, those acts can frighten the child. Instead, get down on the child's eye level, tell him or her that you are not going to touch or move him or her, but that you will stay there for protection. Then flag down another adult and ask that adult to go and get help with a clerk, security person, etc.
It is important not to make children paranoid and afraid of the world! Teach these tips in a way that lets children know that this is "just what we do" to stay safe. It does not mean that every person who tries to help them is dangerous. There is no need for fear, just caution!
The curriculum goes into more detail on this subject.