Teaching Kids to Stay Safe in the Store

How do you go about teaching your kids to stay safe in the store? I did everything I could to make my kids understand the dangers of crowded stores. I was never a horribly strict parent. Nevertheless, I took the job of keeping my kids safe very seriously. They weren’t allowed to wander the store on their own. Still, they all knew what to do when facing a dangerous situation. Why? Because, no matter how careful you are, the unexpected can happen.

My kids knew how to scream for help. I taught them that no matter what someone told them, they were to scream very loudly when approached by a stranger. Some defense classes teach kids to say, “You’re not my Mommy (or Daddy). I taught my kids to scream, “I don’t know you! Help! You’re a stranger! Leave me alone!” The former could be a rebellious kid screaming at a step-parent. There is no mistaking the latter as anything but a child in danger.

My kids knew to hit them where it hurts. I’m not talking about the obvious place. My kids knew it was easy to trip someone who kicks you there. I taught my kids to stomp hard on the foot of someone who grabs them, while screaming. If that didn’t cause them to let go, then they knew to elbow them in the gut or poke them in the eye. They also knew to run screaming like crazy when they could get away, even if the person had a weapon.

I taught my kids the harsh realities. They knew they had to do everything they could to stay out of a kidnappers car. They knew their chances were slim once they were in that vehicle. That’s why I taught them to fight like crazy even if the kidnapper had a weapon. It was a hard thing to do and it might have scared them. It definitely scared me. Still, I’d rather have a scared safe child, than a calm missing (or worse) child.

I dressed my kids recognizably. Not only that, I made sure I knew what they were wearing. Unfortunately, some kidnappers will re-dress kids and cut their hair. Now we have cell phones. Why not take a picture of your kids frequently? That way, you have it right there to show store personnel if your child comes up missing. Not only that, report your child missing right away. Don’t be embarrassed. If it’s a false alarm, no harm done. If it’s a real emergency, the exits can be quickly blocked so a kidnapper cannot escape with your child.

Before shopping, put a hot pepper in your child’s pocket. Pepper spray may be illegal, but the hot pepper can serve the same purpose. Teach your child to puncture it with a fingernail and rub the juice in their kidnapper’s eyes. No peppers? Use a pickle. Pickle juice stings like crazy. It doesn’t hurt to put one of those screamer devices in that pocket either. Your child may be too scared to scream, but they can push the button. When it comes to teaching kids to stay safe in the store, no tactic is too crazy. The important thing is keeping your child safe. Nothing else matters.

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