On the last page of the Sept. 1 IV Press, there was an article entitled “A Lost Child,” an essay about child safety and preventing crisis. It was a little vague in areas, but also missed an important educational point. When I was consultant for the Child Development Center at Palomar College in the early 1980s, I learned this about “stranger danger.” Most children are not abused by strangers but family members, friends, relatives, babysitters and others “known” to the parents. To train you child, teach them three things if anyone ever touches or discusses their private parts: 1. “Tell them No!” 2. “Run Away” and 3. “Tell a Parent/Trusted Adult” about the incident. Kids can learn these safety skills quite easily, and it is important to repeat the lesson from time to time. When they perform these skills, praise them.
Kids do get separated from parents at fairs, theme parks, the zoo, sports games, etc. It happened to me as a child and as a parent. Train your child to find the nearest “mother with children.” They are the best line of protection. Mothers are the most protective of children, they will easily empathize with the child’s emotions and will get help from appropriate people very quickly. Pedophiles have been known to dress in uniforms. Also, most pedophiles are men, so if you tell them to seek a uniformed person, women can be trusted.
For more child safety information, contact your local elementary school or child development center. They are there to help and inform.
—James Shinn, El Centro