Safety important during Halloween

Every year, some children are taken while they are out trick-or-treating. To stop this, parents and children must learn what signs to look out for in strangers, as well as the importance of sticking close together.

According to the ND Response, the best way to keep children safe from predators is to “Teach your children that it is more important to get out of a threatening situation than it is to be polite.  Children should be taught just because someone tries to engage them in conversation doesn’t mean they should talk to that person or forget their safety rules.  Immediately get away from anyone who bothers them or makes them feel sad, scared, or confused.  Remind them that it is OK to be impolite and say no.  Tell them to trust their feelings.  A recent study indicates that 84% of thwarted abductions involved the child doing something proactive to escape, such as walking or running away, yelling, kicking, pulling away, attracting attention or otherwise resisting. Teach your child what to do if approached by a stranger. Common tricks used to abduct children include offering a ride, offering the child candy, asking the child to help them look for a lost pet or showing them a pet, asking for directions, or claiming that the child’s parent has asked them to bring the child home because of an emergency. Listen to your child; don’t disregard their fears. Instead, let them know that you take their fears and concerns seriously. Know the routes your child takes to and from school, friends’ homes and other activities.

Teach your children their full names, addresses and phone numbers.

Teach your children how to make a long distance call (both directly to you using the area code and by dialing “0” for the operator). Know your neighbors and your child’s friends, including their names, addresses and telephone numbers. Be involved in your child’s activities by volunteering at school, clubs, and sporting events – participate in a neighborhood watch program. Before leaving your child in the care of a day-care, pre-school, baby sitter, or youth organization, check their references and qualifications.”

The best way to protect a child is to teach them what to look for. If a child can’t see the red flags a stranger portrays, that child is in danger. It’s even more dangerous if a parent cannot see those warning signs. How can a parent protect their children if they don’t know what they’re looking for?

Melanie Wirtz, an English teacher at Peet Junior High, said, “It is important to make sure kids are visible and well protected during Trick-or-Treating. There are many kids out and they are excited for all the fun of Halloween. Because of their excitement they may be distracted and not as cautious. Adults need to make sure they are aware of their surroundings and have something to make them visible – reflective clothing, a flashlight, a glow stick, or something similar so cars can see them easily. If everyone follows good safety protocols it can be a fun and safe Halloween for all.”

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