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During the summertime more kids want to spend time playing outside. If left unsupervised this could lead to dangerous situations with strangers. KSMU’s Katie Easley spoke with the Child Advocacy Center for advice on how parents can keep their children safe.
Barbara Brown, executive director for the Child Advocacy Center in Springfield, says children of all ages should not be outside unless a parent is aware of what they are doing.
“It is the adult’s job to keep children safe. Children just don’t have the cognitive complexity to be able to make those judgments and keep themselves safe,” Brown says.
Brown says parents need to find out from their kids what they would do if a stranger does approach them. Parents can do this without scaring the child by making it into a game.
“Let’s play what if, what if you are outside playing and a car pulls up and says I’ve lost my puppy help me find it, if your child says sure I’ll help you find it then there’s an opportunity to educate,” Brown says.
Brown says it is important to explain to children that conversations with strangers are not okay. She also says there are ways parents can help their child avoid danger.
“Most people who are going to abduct kids look for children who are alone. It’s more rare that they would try to grab a child in a group of multiple children so that’s why I say to buddy up,” Brown says.
Brown recommends that parents always walk with their children when they are heading to nearby locations. If the child is mature enough to walk without parental supervision it is important that someone makes a phone call verifying the child’s arrival.
For KSMU News, I’m Katie Easley