"Caring means taking an active part in your children's lives, teaching them needed skills taht will guide them as they grow. Streetproofing techniques can be used by your children while in your home or outside at play. Always remember that streetproofing does not replace proper supervision.
Guidelines that may assist you and your child:
- Know who your children play with and where they go. Keep a list of their friends' addresses and phone numbers.
- Do not leave your child in unsupervised locations, such as cars (even while just paying for gas), parks, public washrooms, malls, etc.
- Tell your children never to go anywhere with a stranger, not to talk to strangers, and never take anything from them.
- Teach them what a 'safe stranger' is in case they need help. A safe stranger includes a police officer, a fire fighter, a cashier, etc. Teach them what the appropriate response is to their needing help.
- Teach your children where and how to get help. Go with them on their regularly travelled routes and find out where safe places are located. Find out where the pay phones are located and teach your children how to dial 9-1-1.
- Develop a "what if" game for the kids to get them thinking of how they would respond if they felt threatened or afraid.
- Make up an emergency kit for your child. It should include information such as emergency numbers, your number at work, medical information, and quarters for the pay phone.
- Teach your children to talk to you immediately when someone does anything that makes them feel strange or uncomfortable. Listen when your children are trying to tell you about something that bothers them and provide them with support and understanding. Don't immediately dismiss 'uncomfortable feelings' your children may have about relatives, friends or acquaintances. Listen for what they might be trying to tell you.
- Go with your child to the bus stop and meet them when they return from school.
- Encourage your child to use a buddy system instead of walking alone.
- Let your child know in advance who will be picking them up. Prearrange for emergencies; have a specific person your child knows pick them up and notify the school of the arrangements.
- Avoid having your child's name visible on his or her clothing, lunch boxes and other belongings, as it advertises to everyone who they are. Teach your child that just because someone knows their name they may be a stranger.
- Keep an up-to-date photograph, and other detailed information about your child on file at home, such as height, weight, scars, and other specifics. Many police agencies have child identification sheets available free of charge.
- Teach yourself about street proofing and then teach and reinforce safe behaviours with your children. Set the example, and practice safe habits yourself."
For further information, contact: Cst. Sean Piper
Crime Prevention Services
905-453-2121 - Ext. 4021
Source: Peel Regional Police
"Stay Alert…Stay Safe (SASS) is a streetproofing program geared to children 7-10 years old. In reality, however, SASS is about a feeling - a feeling of being smart and in control. The tips and the messages of the program are applicable for all ages.
The Stay Alert...Stay Safe mission is to develop an on-going, national streetproofing program actively involving both children and adults, that aims to make them aware of and alert to potential dangers, by building situation understanding and, more importantly, children's confidence in handling such situations.
SASS was founded in 1987 after the abduction and murder of 11 year-old Alison Parrott in Toronto. Lesley, Alison's mother, with the support and assistance of her colleagues in the advertising industry set out to establish a program which would teach children, not just street smarts but "life smarts"; a program which would also teach children to listen to that little voice of caution inside their head or "tummy" - that little voice that we as adults know as instinct. We also know that feeling good about oneself, or "self-esteem" is the number one defense against becoming a victim. At Stay Alert...Stay Safe we strive to teach skills which will last a lifetime.
SASS very quickly grew from a program successfully launched and initially distributed in the Toronto area, to a national program taught in elementary schools and made available in English and French. All program materials are carefully researched with input from child psychologists, teachers, police and kids themselves. We are very fortunate to have a committed Board of Directors, many of whom have been involved with SASS from its beginnings.
To reinforce the safety messages in a positive manner, Bert and Gert, the Alert Twins, were conceived. Just as Elmer the Elephant delivered traffic safety to kids in the 60's and 70's, Bert and Gert became familiar streetproofing safety rabbits to kids in the 80's and 90's.
We all know that when there is a tough, important message to deliver, it is more effectively presented in an upbeat and positive way. Bert and Gert are cool and smart and help kids make good decisions. Through informative and interactive materials that encourage ongoing involvement, we communicate several key messages that are direct and simple to grasp. eg:
Streetproofing is a positive, fun thing to learn; it's not meant to be scary. Its purpose is to make you stronger and more powerful.
- People you know as well as people you don't know can be dangerous.
- Learn to rely on your own instincts - a feeling deep down inside of you. Learn the difference between feeling comfortable and uncomfortable.
- It's okay to say no to adults.
- Your body is your own and it's okay to not want to be touched.
- When you feel afraid or bad, talk to someone you trust.
- Be especially careful if someone asks you to keep a secret; adults should not ask kids to keep secrets.
As a parent, learning to talk openly with your child is a must. SASS stresses the importance of practicing good communication skills from day one.
Since 1987, SASS has established a network of communities - schools, families and police - dedicated to ensuring all kids are taught the skills to make smart decisions and to help them grow up to be confident and responsible adults. Our success speaks for itself as police confirm that kids today are learning to act on their instincts and are much more likely to know how to get out of a situation that could be dangerous.
Some of the accomplishments in recent years are:
development and distribution of resources for kids, parents, communities and police. The core SASS materials include:
guidebooks for teachers, police, young leaders, communities
activity booklet for kids and their parents, activity kits for teachers,
61/2 minute animated video delivered by Bert & Gert
interactive game allowing children to interact with Bert and Gert -- available from SASS web site (www.sass.ca) additional hand-outs include:
- streetproofing tips for babysitters
- information and tips on bullying
- newsletter distributed to police, schools and community groups
- colouring sheets for "back to school", halloween, bullying, what to do if lost, spring safety
- penetration of 50,000 Canadian classrooms annually - that translates into 555,000 classes and more than 13 million children learning to stay alert…stay safe
- on-going assistance of over 1,600 individual police officers and 1,000 police services who distribute our streetproofing message to teachers and communities
- on-going support of 3,000 school teachers who deliver the SASS streetproofing message to their students
- on-going support of nine Provincial Premiers during SASS month in April and support of Education Ministries who recommend the SASS program be included in the school curriculum
- on-going support of radio stations through Public Service Announcements bringing streetproofing messages to families and communities
- on-going support of TV stations who air Public Service Announcements throughout Canada year round
recognition of our well known and much traveled SASS safety rabbit mascots, 30 sets of Bert and Gert, who have made thousands of appearances from Yellowknife to Gander "
For further information contact:
Child Find Ontario
440 Britannia Rd. E.
Mississauga, Ont. L4Z 1X9
National Toll Free: 1-800-387-7962
TEN THINGS KIDS SHOULD KNOW
1- Their home address and telephone number (including area code) as soon as it is possible for them to learn.
2- Phone numbers where parents can be reached when they are not home or a trusted neighbour or relative that they could call for help.
3 - How to phone with operator assistance.
4 - How to reach you in an emergency.
5 - How to use 9-1-1 for emergencies or how to use operator assistance.
6 - Understand that adults do not keep secrets with children.
7 - That it's all right to say 'no' to an adult if the person wants them to do something you've taught them is wrong.
8 - That no one has the right to touch any part of his or her bodies that a bathing suit would cover.
9 - To tell you if someone has asked them to keep a secret from you.
10 - To report to you, school authorities, or a police officer anyone who exposes private parts.
This information has been taken from pamphlets available to the public by RCMP and FBI