“Don’t talk to strangers”…is no longer considered an effective message to keep children safe.

Stranger abduction in Canada is a rare occurrence.

Adults who harm or attempt to abduct children are generally known to the child.


Please use the following tips to help teach your children how to stay safe.


Make sure your child knows the following:

  • Full name, address and telephone number
  • How to call 911 and use a payphone (911 on a payphone is free!)
  • Who to go to for help (police, mothers with children, store employees, etc.)
  • Safe places in their neighbourhood (trusted neighbour, library, etc.)
  • A family „code word‟ or „password‟ in case of an emergency or change of plans
  • To trust their “uh oh” feeling (instincts) and understand they can always talk to a trusted adult about any situation which makes them feel uncomfortable

Teach your children to:

  • Walk with a buddy or group to and from school and play
  • Avoid shortcuts, or dangerous, secluded places such as
  • vacant buildings, alleys, construction sites, wooded areas and railway tracks
  • Always take the safest routes to friends‟ houses and to and from school, and never take shortcuts
  • Not wear their name on clothing
  • Avoid showing expensive jewellery, electronics or clothing at school
  • Walk confidently and be alert to their surroundings
  • Cross the street safely at marked crosswalks and not from between parked cars

Your children should:

  • Check in with their caregiver or trusted neighbour when they arrive home
  • Have a key to the house (avoid hiding one outside)
  • Know how to lock windows and doors, as well as how to use the alarm system
  • Know to never allow anyone into the home without a parent‟s permission
  • Know to never tell a caller at the door or on the telephone that they are alone
  • Know how to locate important telephone numbers such as a parent‟s work, other relatives, trusted neighbours, police, fire and poison control
  • Know how to escape in case of fire

Children Need To Know

If they feel uncomfortable, it is always okay to tell a trusted adult.  Touching should never be kept secret, and all touching can be talked about.

They have the right to say “no” to any touch that makes them feel uncomfortable or yucky, or in any situation they feel in danger or threatened.

Only they can decide how a touch makes them feel—if no one listens to them the first time, they should keep telling until they get help.

Encourage children to be attentive of what is going on around them, and to be alert and aware of unsafe behaviours before making choices about whether to participate.

Children should always know the answers to these questions:

WHO (they are with), WHAT (they are doing) and WHERE (they are)—this information should always be reported to parents as well as what time the child expects to return

Tricky behavior is dishonest behavior. Adults use tricky behavior to fool children. Children should NOT trust a person just because they are an adult or that they wear a uniform. Children should trust people based on whether they behave in an honest and respectful manner.

A trustworthy respectful person should:

  • Understand boundaries (such as not asking the child to do anything without their parents‟ permission, or to touch them)
  • Act appropriately (like adults—adults should not act like children)
  • Do what they say they are going to do (they should not tell a child one thing and do another trying to confuse them)

Adults should not keep secrets with children. There is a difference between secrets and surprises. A surprise will be revealed (like a birthday present.) Children should tell parents immediately if an adult tries to keep a secret with them.

Some popular tricks used by predators include:

  • The Help Trick (a predator asks a child to help them find a lost pet, or asks directions)
  • The Emergency Trick (a predator tells the child there has been a family emergency and the child needs to go with them)
  • The Accident Trick (a predator lies on the ground and pretends to be injured)
  • The Animal Trick (a predator holds a small animal and invites a child to touch it)
  • The Bribe Trick (a predator promises candy, money, or something else of interest)



If a Tricky Person tries to fool a child and acts untrustworthy or disrespectful, the child should know:

  • NO: Say ―NO with confidence
  • GO: Take 3 big steps back, run in the opposite direction
  • YELL: ―You are NOT my parent!
  • TELL: Tell parents immediately

Even if the situation is later determined to have been safe, children should never be in trouble for taking measures to keep themselves from harm and trusting their ―"uh oh feeling."


Related Content

personal_safety_for_children.pdf (918 KB)