Safe-Smart Rules for Kids and Grownups!
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Our friend Pattie Fitzgerald, founder of Safely Ever After, Inc., is back blogging with us, and offering her "Super Ten "Safe-Smart Rules" for Kids and Grownups. Pattie knows what we know at Safety4Kids--that keeping kids safe is a full time job! But there is so much good information out there to help us all--and Pattie is leading the way when it comes to dealing with the way in which your child interacts with friends, family and strangers. Here's some great information you may want to keep handy--talk about this with your kids. An ounce of prevention...uh-oh, I sound like my parents again!

Who's afraid of the big, bad wolf? How about the boogeyman? Okay, good--so we've got those two covered!

But how about the ice cream man, or the next door neighbor, or the after-school sports coach? Now, before you get mad at me for picking on those three, let me just say I have nothing against any of these community members! In fact, my daughter and I buy Fudgsicles from our local ice cream man at the park all the time, and I have a very cool next door neighbor. So why bring them up? a child safety advocate and sexual abuse prevention educator, it's my job to make sure that we are teaching our kids about personal safety in the most effective, up to date manner. By now, most parents know that the "stranger-danger" concept is outdated and doesn't serve our children.

And, many parents are at least somewhat familiar with the statistic that 90 percent of childhood molestation occurs by someone the child knows, and has some kind of a relationship with.

Okay everybody...breathe!! This DOES NOT mean we have to teach our kids to fear everyone or suspect that everybody out there in the world is a child molester. In fact, quite the opposite. Most people are not waiting in the wings, ready to harm our kids the moment we turn our backs. Good news, right?!

But, unfortunately, we do live in a world where childhood sexual abuse exists and the best way to protect kids is to EMPOWER them with the right kind of safety information. So, how do we begin to teach our children to interact with various adults every day without being taken advantage of? I like to start with my Super-Ten "Safe--Smart” Rules!

The Super-Ten Rules work for kids at every age, whether they are 4 years old or 14 years old. The only difference is the manner in which you teach them to your children.

The Super-Ten Rules work because they can help kids (and parents) identify a "thumbs up or thumbs down" situation or spot a potential red flag in another person's behavior.

The Super-Ten Rules are a great way to start the safety dialog with your kids. You can even role-play or create specific "What If...?" scenarios with your children and apply one or more of the Super-Ten rules as the response.

So without further ado... here they are:

The Super-Ten Safe-Smarts Rules For Kids and Grownups!


  1. I am special and I have the right to be SAFE!
  2. I know my name, address and phone number...and my parents' cell phone number, too.
  3. Safe Grownups Don't Ask Kids for Help. (They go to other adults for assistance.)
  4. I don't keep SECRETS from my parents. (No one should tell a child to keep a secret from their parents, especially another adult.)
  5. I never go ANYWHERE or take ANYTHING from someone I don’t matter what they say.
  6. I always ASK FIRST and get permission before: I go anywhere, change my plans, or accept something...even if it's from someone I know.
  7. Everybody's bathing suit areas are private. No bathing suit area games allowed.
  8. I don't have to be POLITE to anyone who makes me feel scared or uncomfortable. It's okay to say NO! even to a grownup if I have to.
  9. If I ever get lost in a public place, I can FREEZE AND YELL or go to a MOM WITH KIDS and ask for help.
  10. It's not my fault if someone tries to touch me in a "weird" or uncomfortable way. I will always tell a safe grownup if I feel scared or confused about any touches. And I will keep telling until I get help.

Safe-Smarts work for kids at every age. Even very young children can be taught these basic concepts. Review them often; clarify and update as your child matures.

Let us know how you deal with these situations--what do you tell your kids? What you tell them can make all the difference in the world.

Be Safe!

(c) Sonya Etchison. Image from