How to protect your children

April 29, 2002

The Child Connection Inc. gives the following safety suggestions for children:

- Yell, kick and scream if grabbed by a stranger.

- Make sure your child knows his/her area code and phone number, and how to make a collect call in case of emergency.

- Teach your child not to give his/her phone number or address to strangers.

- Encourage your children to use the buddy system and to watch out for each other.

- Get photos taken every six months of your children and keep a photo with you at all times.

- Get your child fingerprinted at a police agency.

- Teach children how to recognize and avoid lure tactics such as a stranger saying, "I'll give you $10 if you help me put this box in my car." It is best to ignore the request, avoid any conversation and run.


- Establish a family code word. If a stranger says, "Your mom and dad have been in a car wreck; you need to come with me right now," the child should respond, "What is the code word?" The child should run away if the stranger doesn't know the word, and report the stranger to a responsible person as soon as possible.

- Teach your children to go to a cashier or ticket booth if they are separated from you while at a mall, amusement park or any place you travel.

- The route to school should be established by a parent, and under no circumstances should the child deviate from that route. Avoid alleys and other potentially dangerous areas.

- Make sure school officials will notify you if your child does not arrive on time.

- Keep good communication lines open with your children.

- Make a mental note of what your child wears every day. Do not put your child's name on the outside of his or her clothing or belongings because that allows a stranger to become verbally intimate with your child. Label the inside of clothes, backpacks, etc.

The Child Connection is an independent nonprofit organization that actively searches for missing and exploited children throughout the U.S. and Canada.

The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services' Web site at also provides child safety tips and an extensive list of sexual assault prevention resources.

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