WICHITA, Kansas — Many people actually consider the safety rules of “stranger danger” antiquated. There are new ideas how to keep our kids safe.
The Greater Wichita YMCA is the largest child care provider in our area, serving upwards of 10,000 children of all ages. Officials we spoke to say they train their staff to stray away from the use of stranger danger.
“We need to teach our children that police officers are good strangers, you don’t know this, but they’re a police officer, they’re a safe person,” said Andrea Eliot, YMCA.
Because in many cases it’s a person who the family knows or is close to who could be a danger. Sergeant Kevin Bradford with the exploited and missing child unit says education on this topic begins with the parents.
“Sit down and explain to them that there are people in this world that you may or may not know that are not out looking at your best intentions,” said Sgt. Kevin Bradford, with the Exploited & Missing Child Unit.
Bradford says a popular example is someone in a vehicle asking a child to look for a pet or get directions to a certain location. Bradford says it’s a situation parents should tell their children to avoid at all cost.
“When they’re trying to get you to come over to the vehicle or they’re getting unusually close to you when they’re asking that than it’s time for the kid to say I can’t help you,” said Bradford.
Some people have even gone as far as using code words to identify who is safe or not.
“If I can’t get to pick you up, I might have to send someone from my work and this is the code word, if they don’t know that code word then you shouldn’t go with them,” said Eliot.
These are ways both Eliot and Bradford hope safeguard another child from becoming the victim of a heinous crime.