Safety Talk: Teach Kids to Stay Safe on the Streets

Do your kids have the tools they need to stay safe?

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  • 3 Smart Moves for Smart Kids
  • The recent kidnapping and murder of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia in
    Florida is raising awareness about the importance of teaching children how to stay safe on the streets.

    Carlie was walking home from a slumber party in February when she took a shortcut home through a closed carwash. A carwash video surveillance camera taped Carlie as she was approached by a man, who took her arm and led her away.

    Bruce Kuhn, director of the National Missing Children’s Locate Center’s California chapter, says the incident highlights how important it is for parents to talk to their kids about abduction prevention and ways to defend themselves.

    “This information is going to keep these children aware of what’s going on in the streets, what’s out there,” says Kuhn.

    Kuhn offered three basic rules that parents should tell their children:

    Always step back. If a stranger comes up to you, move away from them. Keep moving back.

    Yell and scream. If a stranger tries to grab you, get as much attention as you possibly can.

    Don’t be afraid to tell your parents. Tell your child it’s OK to tell you if a stranger tried to kidnap them.

    Kuhn advises that parents start teaching safety tips to their children as early as 4 years old. “Sit down and take the time to do it correctly,” he says.

    According to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children ( , 58,200 children in the United States were abducted by non-relatives in 1999. Most of the children were released unharmed. Only 115 abductions were classified as the most dangerous kind, where a child was kept overnight, held for ransom or killed. In those cases, 69 children were returned safely, and 46 were killed.