Better Safe Than Sorry

Several of you were quick to remind me of something after today’s post, and I’m so glad you did.  It is critically important to use discernment when labeling your child’s belongings.  Embroidering a name in large print on backpacks or clothing is a risky idea.  Predators could use this as a tool to gain rapport with a child and make it look as if they know him. ("Hey Bobby, I’m a friend of your mom’s…" The thought leaves me cold). 

I omitted an important detail about the bag tags I make for my children’s backpacks.  The print is small enough that only someone standing right next to the child could read it–NOT someone observing from a distance .  And part of our regular "stranger danger" discussion is the notion that just because someone knows your name does NOT mean he knows you.  We discuss the fact that bad guys can be sneaky and learn your name in other ways.  (Do discussions like this scare my kids?  Maybe a little.  But I’d rather have them scared and safe than comfortable and in danger).  We take this issue so seriously that my husband, a kids’ soccer coach for years, does not allow his team to have names printed on their jerseys. 

Please give this issue careful consideration when labeling your child’s belongings.  Talk to them often about being safe. 

15 thoughts on “Better Safe Than Sorry

  1. Addie says:

    GREAT reminder! Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the embroidery, or cute names on the backs of jersey’s that we forget the danger. A video we have, and watch periodically, and talk through regularly, is “Stranger Safety” with the Safeside Super Chick. John Walsh and the inventor of Baby Einstein put it together, and it is wonderful! Entertaining, and really GREAT guidelines.
    I know that’s sorta off topic, but I thought someone might be interested. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Julie says:

    Always a good reminder! I myself only put my DD’s initials and class room on her things (eg A.B. Casa 6). It works for me ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Dawn says:

    We have regular discussions in our home on strangers and safety issues including peer pressure and alchohol and drugs. Believe me it is NEVER to early to teach your children about these saftey concerns. Thank you for the reminder about labeling in too large of print.

  4. Stephanie says:

    We just went to a Kids Fair this last weekend. The cutest police lady was there to talk to the kids. She told my little girl that its not enough just to not talk to strangers, she needs to make sure that she is never NEAR a stranger. This lady told her that only if her dad and/or I were with her, that was the ONLY time she could ever talk to or be by a stranger.
    It was SO nice to have someone else tell my kids that. I talk to her about it quite a bit, but it comes with so much more authority when its the LAW!

  5. PastorMac's Ann says:

    It’s a tough balance sometimes – wanting to scare them enough but not terrify them. If you know what I mean?
    We have a family password – we tell our kids that we won’t send anyone to pick them up from someplace without giving that person the password.
    Go reminder about names on stuff.

  6. PastorMac's Ann says:

    go? what is that? I meant good. Good reminder. I’m seriously having brain and proof-reading problems today. Sorry.
    I didn’t mention that we forbid our kids from sharing the family password with anyone – even friends. That way it stay an effective safety tool.

  7. Nicole says:

    I don’t know if I have ever commented on your blog, but I have been a major lurker for awhile. I just had to put in my two cents on this one, because I can see that “Stranger Danger” is a big concern for a lot of your readers. I am a social worker by trade and so I just wanted to mention that while you are absolutely right about not putting children’s names on things, and it is good for them to aware of strangers, the reality is that 99% of the time a perpetrator is someone that the child knows. So the emphasis on stanger danger can actually sometime be a negative thing. There is a great book out there called Protecting the Gift (by Gavin De Becker). I found it very informative, it has really practical things that parents can do to protect their children. Here is a link where you can read an excerpt from that book that is about stranger danger http://www.saferchild.org/gavindeb.htm . He says it much better than I do so I will leave it at that.
    Anyway, I hope that I am not being obnoxious with this post, its just in trying to decide whether to say something or not I was thinking kind of along the same lines…”better safe, than sorry.”

  8. mom2fur says:

    Nicole is right regarding the stranger/danger thing. Make sure your son knows that just because someone looks nice doesn’t mean he is. That’s one of the problems with the whole stranger/danger campaign. Kids were thinking of some creep in a funny coat, not the pleasant guy who walks his dog past your house every day. I mean, really, John Wayne Gacy used to volunteer as a hospital clown. You know what I mean? I can remember telling my kids they weren’t to get in a car with ANYONE no matter who it was–unless it was a mom with some kids in the car that they knew from school. Or one or two moms I name specifically.
    Boy, am I glad I no longer have to think about those things.

  9. Gego says:

    Nicole and Mom2fur are ABSOLUTELY correct. The most insidious crimes against children are committed by friends and family – someone the child knows and trusts. If y’all are not familiar with McGruff the Crime Dog, or even if you are, there is a wonderful website for children (and adults) to help parents and grandparents teach children about the dangers in the world that surrounds them. http://www.mcgruff.org/ As an elementary school counselor for almost twenty years, I encourage each of you to broaden your conversations to include friends and family members. I know this is a tightrope, but, the safety of your children is the most important gift you can give them. Practice the skills. Role play events. Let them scream their little voice boxes hoarse. The three steps are: Scream NO, RUN away as fast as you can, TELL the nearest safe adult. Thank you Shannon for taking such wonderful care of the most precious children I know.

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