Child Safety: Stranger Danger

November 1st, 2010 @   - 

Every night, the family dinner conversation at our house began with the same question.  Jeff and I would ask our children, “What did you learn in school today?”  And, as many parents hear, we would get answers like “Nothing.” or “I don’t remember.”  But, on one particular night, our kids told us about Officer Friendly visiting their elementary school.  It had made such a big impression on them.

Officer Friendly came to school to teach the children how to stay safe, how to identify a stranger and what to do if a stranger approached them.  Of course, as parents, Jeff and I had taught the kids not to talk to strangers.  But Officer Friendly took it a step further by empowering them with some advice.  Officer Friendly suggested that the family determine a secret, easily remembered code word.  Our kids agreed upon Indiana Jones.  This was their word, not ours.  And, they were the ones that needed to remember it.

The code word was a “Safe Secret.”  The code word belongs to the family and was only used as a sign that a person was considered “safe.”  For example, if I was stuck in traffic and couldn’t make it to pick up Dana at her piano lessons, my neighbor, Judy, would pick her up.  She would use the “code word” so Dana knew that I wanted her to go with home with Ms. Judy.  The kids knew NEVER to go with a person unless they heard the code word.  In addition to the code word, Officer Friendly asked the family to determine a specific list of “safe” people like Mommy, Daddy, Nana, Pop Pop and Ms. Judy, your next door neighbor.

I reflect on that night at the dinner table.  Keeping our children safe was always a top priority for Jeff and me.  Fortunately, the children were never approached by a “real stranger” and never needed to ask for the “code word” but, to this day in 2010, our children remember our code word, Indiana Jones.  Now, our “kids” are 36 and 32 years old, both married, each with two children.  Our four grand-children range in age from 6 months to 5 years old.  They are the inspiration for Kidproteq®.

For information on L.E.A.P./MY Child ID/Amber Alert:    Kidproteq & Amber Alert on Facebook

Kidproteq, LLC serves Philadelphia and its suburbs.  Kidproteq Owners and Professional Baby Proofers, Rachelle and Jeff Gansky are there to help.  Jeff performs the home evaluations and is available for installations.  A Kidproteq® in-home safety evaluation takes approximately 1.5 hours.  Rachelle handles all daily operations and is available for phone and email consultation. Rachelle provides the best, most current information by keeping up on the latest in the childproofing industry through her connections with IAFCS and Safe Kids USA.  Feel free contact Rachelle with questions at (610) 688-7404 or kidproteq@verizon.net.  Be safe!

CALL TO ACTION
The Officer Friendly Program still exists and “is designed to humanize children’s perceptions of police officers and their work, improve rapport between children and police, increase awareness of safety and civic responsibility and reduce crime involving children.”  Sadly, programs like Officer Friendly are being cut.  For example, both The Officer Friendly Program and DARE program were eliminated from the curriculum of our former school district in November 2009 due to budget constrictions.

MOMS, please lobby for these programs in your schools!  Contact your school.  Share the ideas with others.  Make other aware of these programs and the value they have for your families and your community!  For more information, contact your local police department.

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