New York City Police Department

NYPD - Crime Prevention - Crime Prevention for Children

 

          Children are naturally trusting, especially with adults. It's difficult for parents to teach children to balance this trust with caution.  Today, children need to learn how to react to dangerous situations using common sense to keep them safe.  They should be reinforced in a gentle manner and be provided with effective rules to avoid some tough situations. This will build the self confidence they need to handle emergencies.

          It is important to realize that when developing personal safety skills in your child, they must be taught as you would teach other subjects.

Tell - the basic rules.
Show - how to do/say the rules you are teaching.
Practice - how your child should react and what they should say.

BASICS

  1. From an early age, children should be taught their full name, the name of their parents or guardian, their address, and telephone number with the area code.
  2. Teach them how to use the telephone to call 9-1-1 or "0" if an emergency occurs, and how a public phone works.  Practice periodically on a disconnected telephone.
  3. Children learn best from good examples; lock doors and windows, always identify your caller before opening your door.
  4. Keep open communication with your children.  Listen to their feelings and fears about people and places with which they feel uncomfortable.  Help them to learn to trust their instincts.

STREET SAFETY

          Get to know your children's friends.  Keep their addresses and telephone numbers in a safe place.  Besides telling your child to avoid shortcuts, walk the neighborhood with them and show them the safeplaces to go, such as a trusted neighbor's house or business.

          Save expensive items of jewelry or clothing for special occasions.  If someone demands money or other items belonging to your child, tell your child to hand over, you would not be mad because his or her life is worth so much more.

          Encourage children to play in groups, not alone.  Besides being safe, it is more fun.  Tell your children never to go with or talk to strangers.  To reinforce this statement, make sure your child knows what a stranger is.  It could be a man or woman, anyone that you do not know.

          It is also very important to teach them to be on the lookout for certain kinds of situations or actions rather than certain kinds of individuals.  Children should learn to stay away from individuals in cars or vans.  Teach them that it is OK to say NO, even to an adult.  They should check with their parents or guardian before getting into a car or leaving with anyone, even someone that they know.

Latchkey Child Safety Guidelines

          Children should be taught the following guide­lines for their safety:

          Be sure that no one is near the entrance of your home before you enter.  If the door is open or windows are broken when arriving home, do not enter.  Go to a neighbor or friend's house and telephone police.

          Seek permission from your parent or guardian before going into anyone's home.  If you are being followed or are in danger, go to a place where there are people, i.e. a grocery store or trusted neighbor.

          When answering the telephone, tell the caller that your parents are busy and cannot come to the telephone at this time. Never say your parents are not at home.  Do not open the door for  anyone unless instructed by your parents, and do not let the visitor know there is no adult at home.

          Tell your parents if anyone asks you to keep a secret, offers gifts or money, or asks you to take your picture.  Do not allow anyone to take a photograph of you.  If they do anyway, tell your parents immediately.

          Always tell your parents if something happened while you were on your own that made
you feel uncomfortable in any way.  Wear clothing that does not display your name.  Wear your house keys in a concealed place.  It may send a signal that you're home alone if it is visibly displayed.

SEXUAL ABUSE - PROTECTING YOUR CHILD

          Because children cannot look out for themselves, it is our responsibility as parents to foresee problems they might encounter.  The most important key to child safety is an open, effective  communication with your child.

          Establish an atmosphere in your home in which your child feels truly comfortable in discussing sensitive matters and relating experiences in which someone may have approached the child in an inappropriate manner or in a way that would have made your child uncomfortable.

          Children can be raised to be polite and friendly, but it's OK to say NO to anyone who tries to touch him or her in a way that makes them feel frightened, uncomfortable, or confused.  Have them get away and tell a trusted adult.

          Allow your child to develop a sense of author­ity early on by not forcing him/her to kiss a
grown-up or sit on a grown-up's lap if they don't want to.  This gives the child control and teaches them that they have the right to refuse.  Children should not be asked to keep special secrets from their parents.

Crime Prevention Division
34 1/2 East 12th Street
New York, N.Y. 10003
212·614·6741



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