Monday, June 1, 2009

Kid Safety

Here's a great website on keeping kids safe, sponsored by John Walsh (father of kidnapping victim Adam Walsh) and other parent advocates.
This site also links to a map of registered offenders which includes photos, registered addresses, and other information.

Also, I found the Safe Side organization's DVD "The Safe Side: Stranger Safety" at my local library. Of the various materials I've seen, this is by far the best -- practical, straight-forward, yet non-threatening.

The DVD includes helpful information, carefully considered suggestions, and practice in knowing what to do and how to respond to inappropriate behaviors by (1) Don't Knows (people the child does not know at all) and (2) Kinda Knows (people whom the child knows, but who are not part of the child's completely-safe circle). "Safe Side Superchick" -- an engagingly goofy character who offers physical comedy, sound effects, and a lightly delivered but serious message, all reminiscent of Bill Nye -- introduces a very useful analogy: unknown dogs. In an exaggeratedly funny way, she demonstrates that a cute, adorable little harmless-looking dog, may not be harmless after all. Children are introduced to the idea that harmless-looking people may not be safe. Gently, she explains that no one can tell by looking at someone, whether that person is safe or not. Learning how to recognize early warning signs of inappropriate adult behavior and how to respond safely and appropriately are important skills introduced by this video series.

If you are interested in helping children who have been traumatized, please consider supporting Operation Fuzzy, a non-profit which provides care packages to offer comfort and reassurance to children who have experienced trauma. Read about their work here: The Franks Foundation. "It's the goal of the Franks Foundation to expand "Operation Fuzzy" to a nationwide program by January 2010."

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