I've been working actively with my kids on this. I do not want my kids to be so innocent and naive that they fall prey to an abductor.
Last night we had quite a scare when a deputy from our county sheriff's department called. She stated that my kids had been left alone in the vehicle outside the grocery store by their dad. Immediately I started panicking...
Where are my kids?
Did someone take them?
Are they alright?
Did they remember stranger danger?
They were safe, luckily and by the time the sheriff arrived, they had already been scooted out of there by their dad.
As parents not only do we have the responsibility to make our kids aware of their surroundings, not so they are scared, but that they notice things. Things that may be out of place, things that might not seem right to them. People acting a little weird (well...weirder than me.) But we also have the responsibility to protect our kids.
I don't care if you are only in a store for two minutes. That's one minute and 30 seconds more than someone needs to break a window, unlock the door, pull your kids out and take off in another vehicle. You can teach your kids to be as observant as a private eye, but that doesn't mean they are immune to being taken or hurt.
Immediately I began to think of all the what if's:
another car did a hit in run?
there was a shooting in the parking lot?
the dog got hostile towards someone and took it out on the kids?
one of them needed to go to the bathroom, so got out, went into the store (or got hit on the way into the store?)
I could literally sit here all day and write what-ifs. We as parents need to be just a diligent at protecting our children as we are about teaching them about strangers.
On a side note, not all stranger-danger is related to strangers...it could be as simple as your child wandering away in the store or in the woods or as complex as a relative or friend that has ill-intent for your child. Be aware.
This post isn't meant to scare you. I know I was scared last night. Who wouldn't be getting a call from a sheriff 'regarding your children being left alone', but it was a good reminder to be attentive to my surroundings rather than my to-do list.
For tips on child safety here are a few resources that I found today:
Here's a link to order a Child-ID kit for free:
On a final note...
Teach your children that its okay to scream as loud as possible, punch, bite, kick, poke the eyes, the ears, the nose, anything to cause enough pain for the abductor to drop your child so they can run away.