Safe-Smart Rules for
Kids and Grownups!
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
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?
Because...as 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that the "stranger-danger" concept is outdated and doesn't serve our
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,
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
So without further ado... here they are:
The Super-Ten Safe-Smarts Rules For Kids
- I am special and I have the right to be SAFE!
- I know my name, address and phone number...and my parents' cell
phone number, too.
- Safe Grownups
Don't Ask Kids for Help. (They go to other adults for
- I don't keep SECRETS from my parents. (No one should tell a child to
keep a secret from their parents, especially another adult.)
- I never go ANYWHERE or take ANYTHING from someone I don’t
know...no matter what they say.
- 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.
- Everybody's bathing suit areas are private. No bathing suit area
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
(c) Sonya Etchison. Image from