Are You Street Smart?
Imagine if a baby were able to walk around alone. The baby couldnt understand a “dont walk” sign, wouldnt know where to go for help, and couldnt find the way back home. Whats more, the baby might not know good people from bad people. The baby would be in danger.
Thank goodness youre not a baby anymore. You know your way around and you know the rules of the road. The most complicated thing to learn is how to deal with strangers. But if you follow a few rules (all of the time) and trust your instincts, you can be street smart.
Who Are Strangers?
A stranger can be someone that pulls up next to you in a car on your walk home from school and asks for directions. A stranger can be someone at the park that asks for help looking for their puppy. These people may seem friendly, but the bottom line is, theyre strangers.
Make Your Whereabouts Known.
Make sure to tell your mom, dad, grandmother, babysitter, etc. where you are and when youll be coming home. The adult who is watching you needs to know where you are all the time.
Stick With a Friend
Lets face it, its more fun to go to the park, ride your bike or go to the store with a friend. Its also safer. It is a good idea to travel with a friend, and traveling with a group of friends is even better.
Pick “Safe Spots”
Safe spots are places that you can go if you need help. They may be the houses of kids you know, your parents friends houses, police stations, libraries or stores. Make a mental note when youre walking or riding the bus of safe spots along the way. This way youll know where they are if you ever need them.
Avoid Places That Arent Safe
Stay away from isolated areas. These areas are places where no one is around like the woods or dark streets.
Let Grown-Ups (and Only
Grown-Ups) Help Strangers
Helping people is nice, but remember, strangers should ask other grown-ups for help. They should not ask kids. If a stranger comes up and asks you for help (this could mean directions, finding a runaway dog or to look for lost money), dont help. Dont answer them. Immediately, you should walk away. If you arent near a safe spot, try any store or restaurant. If you feel youre in danger, yell for help.
Stay Away From Strangers Cars
Never accept a ride from a stranger. Stay away from a strangers car completely. Dont even look in their car. Dont agree to look in the back of a truck or van or in the trunk. Dont put your arm in the window to take something or to point. It doesnt matter if the person wants you to see a pet or to take a toy thats offered, dont do it. Even if a stranger offers you something you really want, dont take it.
If a stranger pulls up and says something that you cant hear, dont ever go closer, even if the person flags you over. Get away! Run in the opposite direction that the car is heading. Find an adult you know or a police officer or get to one of your safe spots as quickly as possible.
If a stranger comes to pick you up from school, a sporting event or the park, that is no different than any other situation; they are still a stranger. Even if that stranger says that your parents asked him or her to pick you up, or that there has been an emergency and your mom is in the hospital, tell the nearest adult what happened, do not get in the car. Remember, your parents would have told you if someone else was going to pick you up and they would not send someone that you did not know.
Dont be fooled even if a stranger knows your name. It is easy to find out kids names, even if it is a stranger. For example, maybe you are wearing a jacket or a piece of jewelry that has your name on it.
Make A Lot of Noise
If Youre Scared
Youre probably used to hearing that you should not yell, to keep it down or to use indoor voices. When you think that you might be in danger, forget all of that. This is best time to be noisy!
If a stranger follows you when you try to walk away, yell for help. If a stranger ever tries to grab you, shout things like, “Help! I dont know you!” or “Help! This isnt my dad!” People that are nearby will hear you and help, so make as much noise as possible.
Trust Your Instincts
Even if a situation seems fine, but your instinct is telling you something is dangerous, get out of the area, tell a grown-up or call 911. Trust your instincts and remember to follow the rules for being street smart and stranger danger. No one will think you are silly, they will think that you are street smart!