Last year I was brought on board The Safe Side Company, a start-up kids video venture founded by Julie Clark (founder of The Baby Einstein Company) and John Walsh (host of America’s Most Wanted).
Our first release, Stranger Safety, is now the best-selling kids safety video ever, and hundreds of thousands of kids have been exposed to its fun and effective lessons at home and school.
The video is based on 7 simple Hot Tips that teach kids how to be safer around people they “don’t know” and “kinda know”:
The Safe Side Stranger Safety Hot Tips
- Keep your Safe Side Adult close. If you can see them, they can see you.
- Never open the door without your Safe Side Adult.
- Never talk to Don’t Knows unless your Safe Side Adult is with you.
- Stop and Think! Don’t fall for tricks.
- Don’t let anyone inside your Safe Side Circle. Run from danger!
- Never go anywhere, with anyone, unless you ask your Safe Side Adult first.
- Know your three Safe Side Adults.
My four girls, K (13yrs), L (11yrs), A (8yrs) and R (5yrs) have been steeped in these Hot Tips by watching the video many times, and also enduring discussions, lectures and dinner talk about personal safety. One of the most important Hot Tips for kids to understand is “Stop and Think! Don’t fall for tricks.” This is the one that teaches kids about Don’t Knows and Kinda Knows that may use tricks to get close to kids and start a conversation.
There are several stories about children tricked by people with bad intentions that "need help" finding their lost cat, puppy or child, or needing directions to the nearby park or mall.
The video expands on this tip by teaching that adults do not need help from kids. If kids are asked for help by an adult they don’t know, they should go get their Safe Side Adult (parent, grandparent, etc) immediately, even if the people that ask look important or official (security guards, businessmen, repairman, etc).
It was this Hot Tip that led to an interesting incident with our mailman (or more accurately, mailwoman).
The girls had got off the bus and started the long trek to the house- our driveway is a bit more than a 1/10th of a mile long. As they crossed the street and started heading to the house, the stopped traffic started to move again. Just then someone called out to our kids.
It was the mailwoman from inside her Jeep. After she got the kids attention, she asked if K would take the mail to the house since one of the parcels wouldn’t fit in the mailbox- it would save her having to back up in traffic, and pull into the driveway for the quarter mile round trip to the house and back.
K, remembering the Hot Tip, quickly said no, turned around, and the four of them started walking briskly home. The mailwoman, a bit surprised I’m sure, pulled into the driveway, passed the girls once on the way in casting a confused look at K, dropped off the mail on our front porch, and passed them again on the way out.
When we first heard what happened, Michelle and I almost told K that she should have helped, but we remembered the Hot Tip and decided that it would only confuse things if we did. She did a great job, thought quickly, and acted. We encouraged her by telling her she made the right decision and we were proud of her. Too many times parents unknowingly send mixed messages to their kids about personal safety.
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