Stranger Danger Isn’t Enough: A Better Way to Teach Kids About Strangers


Every year, nearly 800,000 children go missing in the United States. During their traumatic experience, many suffer harm or sexual abuse and others never make it home.

Though the catchy phrase, “stranger danger” helps little ones remember that strangers pose a threat, it does not work all on its own in this weighted situation.

To ensure your child does not fall into this statistic you need to teach them more about keeping safe. Read on to learn what to teach your children so they never get abducted.

Define Stranger

What is a stranger? It seems a little unclear to socially experienced adults, so kids need parameters for this term.

Most kids will tell you a stranger is a person they do not know. But, you start to reach a grey area when they kind of know the person.

They may feel a sense of familiarity built by seeing you greet an old friend in passing, hearing you talk about a person, or even seeing their pictures on your social media.

Create a list of people you trust indefinitely, and let them know that they can consider anybody else a stranger. Of course, exceptions may arise in an emergency situation, so use a code word.

Special Situations

In emergency situations, your child may need to trust somebody they do not know. Teach them who to trust under special circumstances.

Create a secret and easy to remember word or phrase that only you, your child, and one emergency backup person know. If a stranger uses this code properly with your child, then they know to trust the person.

If your child gets lost and must interact with a stranger, define who becomes safe in this situation. This typically includes police, firemen, and uniformed staff at a counter.

Stranger Danger Safety Rules

Young children need rules to help them clearly understand expectations and know how to behave in different situations. Usually, they remember best in small numbers, so keep the list short and simple, yet well defined when teaching stranger safety.

These rules may save your little one.

Never Leave With a Stranger

This clear cut phrase eliminates all what-ifs with stranger danger for kids and includes wandering to another room. They do not wander off in anyplace for any reason with a stranger.

Don’t Except Gifts

Teach your child to politely say no thank you to gifts from a stranger. If the stranger persists, tell them to vocalize their no. Make sure they understand gifts include food, drinks, and candy, as they pose special risks.

Scream If Pulled

Here we put safety over-politeness. Explain to your little one that if a stranger ever leads them away from you or an area they should scream “stranger”.

Other words, like “help” or “no” may not catch the attention of onlookers as kids through tantrums with parents often. But, the stranger offers a clear message of danger.

What If?

If, despite your efforts, the unthinkable happens, teach your child to fight, scream, look for communication devices, and find escape routes. Teach your phone number and address, and make sure they know how to contact 911 if possible. If they do get abused, see here for help on how to take action.

Keep Kids Safe

Teaching your child stranger danger should never fall by the wayside. These important safety rules can literally save their life. 

Parenting is amazing, but it can get difficult at moments. Know you’re not alone! Read more parenting advice on our website.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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