Our self defense tip of the week focuses on child safety tips for kids and parents. Child abductions and trafficking are on the rise in our state (and probably yours too). Maybe it's from our decades of teaching stranger danger courses, but when we see kids walking the major highway routes alone, in shopping center parking lots, or in the stores without a parent nearby, my wife and I just shake our heads in disbelief. This is an issue that parents need to take more seriously!
Heck, we don't even let our teenager out of our site in public. Our stance is, if you are not strong enough to fight off a full grown man who grabs you, stay where we can see you.
Think that's extreme? Just watch the interviews of parents whose children were abducted while under their supervision. It's heart wrenching!
So here are some safety tips for kids and parents:
Parents, don't let your kids out of your sight. If you're in a crowded place and your hands are full, have your child hold onto your shirt.
Kids, memorize your full name, address, and phone number (parents quiz them on this).
Use the buddy system – avoid walking anywhere alone.
Trust your instincts – if you feel you are being followed or something is not right, seek help immediately.
If a stranger approaches you, do not speak to him or her. They have no reason asking a child for help, or anything else for that matter.
Never approach a stranger in a motor vehicle. Just keep walking, or run away.
Do not accept candy, toys, or any other items from a stranger.
Never walk off with a stranger no matter who they say sent you, or anything else he or she tells you.
If a vehicle is following you, run into a nearby store, and ask an employee for help. If you can, try to remember the type and color of the vehicle so you can tell the authorities.
If a stranger grabs you, do everything you can to stop him or her from pulling you away or dragging you into his or her car. Wriggle around violently, kick, hit, bite, and even drop to the ground if need be, all while screaming and yelling. Once free from their grasp, run away to a public place, and tell everyone what is happening.
Do whatever it takes to attract the attention of others who can help you. If someone is dragging you away, scream, "help! stranger", “this is not my dad,” or “this is not my mom.
Parents, keep an open communication with your kids, and encourage them to tell you if something "weird" happened to them while they were out.
Parents, there are many other "stranger danger" tactics that you can teach your child. Check with a local self defense school, or the police for child safety courses, to learn more.
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Until next time, Stay Safe!