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Your Child's Personal Safety Inventory

By the time your child is navigating independently in your community, they should have mastered the skills listed under "Safety Assets." Preschoolers don't have many safety skills. They are "Safety Liabilities" and require constant supervision.

Personal safety skills should be taught over a period of years, starting at age three. Complete this inventory for each of your children and use it as a guide for granting privileges and responsibilities. Ask preteens to fill out their own inventory. Then compare theirs with yours and discuss what skills need to be improved.

Safety Assets Safety Liabilities
  Can say "no" to adults   Is compliant with all adults
  Can name all parts of her body, including private parts (genitals)   Is embarrassed by or cannot talk about her genitals
  Can turn down a dare   Will accept dares
  Can recognize and trust his feelings   Ignores or cancels out feelings
  Can recognize and say no to uncomfortable touches   Seeks or accepts affection from most or all adults
  Can follow rules well   Has trouble following rules
  Can talk about problems or feelings   Has difficulty talking about feelings
  Will risk making a scene if necessary   Won't draw attention to herself or ask people for help
  Can use 911 or Operator in an emergency   Doesn't know how to call 911 or "0" in an emergency
  Knows name, address and phone number   Does not know all identifying information
  Knows how to safely interact with strangers   Is terrified by or very friendly toward strangers
  Would refuse a bribe from an adult   Would accept a bribe from an adult
  Knows how to answer the phone without disclosing too much information   Tells callers too much information
  Will only open the door with your permission   Opens the door to anyone
  Would "Yell, Run and Tell" if in trouble   Would freeze and not be able to think or act in an emergency
  Questions adults' motives and doesn't immediately trust them   Is easily persuaded by adults
  Knows what to do if he gets lost or separated from you   Doesn't know what to do if he gets lost or separated from you
  Can distinguish between uniformed officers and impostors   Would obey anyone who was wearing a uniform or flashed a badge
  Would share a secret with you if scared or threatened   Would keep a secret if scared or threatened
  Would be able to recognize and avoid common lures   Could be tricked by someone who gained his trust and confidence

From "Raising Careful, Confident Kids in a Crazy World," by Paula Statman. Copyright 1999 Piccolo Press, Oakland, CA. Paula is the founder of the KidWISE Institute (1-888-Kid-Wise), with 20 years experience as a psychotherapist and educator. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

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