Keeping yourself safe from others
stranger; danger; police; safety; help; protect; help;
Danger from strangers
Australia is mostly a very safe place to live. OK, so we have got poisonous snakes and spiders, but it's very rare for anyone to die after being bitten by them. We can learn to keep away from them.
We can have an outdoors way of life because of our weather but we learn to protect ourselves against the sun.
We also need to know that there are some people around who can be a danger, particularly to kids. Most of the people who hurt kids are people the kid knows, including people in their families and bullies at school, but a few of these people are strangers.
Kids can learn ways to help to keep safer from strangers, but if a kid gets hurt by a stranger, it is not the kid's fault – older people and adults are the ones who have to control their own behaviour.
Remember too that many more kids get hurt by traffic – so be very sure to learn and follow road safety rules.
Here are 4 tips to keep yourself safer when you are out.
- Think aware
Be aware that there are some people who are not as nice as they seem.
- Think smart
Be smart when you are out and about. Notice who is nearby and what is happening around you?
- Think ahead
Work out with your parents, carers and teachers what you would do in an emergency situation.
- Think first
If you are feeling unsafe then look for a Safety Assist house or business, a friend's house, stay with your friends, look for a trusted adult, go into a shop, supermarket or somewhere where there are lots of people, or, if you have one, use your mobile to get help.
Remember too that most adults are trustworthy. Look to see if there are a couple of adults, or someone with a child who you can go and stand close to.
At the playground
Sometimes there may be an adult or young person at the playground who seems friendly and wants to give you drinks and lollies, or help you on the equipment - but be careful. Some adults like to harm kids. Having an adult or young person you trust with you will help to keep you safer. If there is no one nearby, make sure you stay with other kids, especially when you are walking home from the playground.
When you are out
- Make sure someone knows where you are going and what time you will be home.
- Walk on busy streets if you are alone.
- Avoid short cuts down laneways or through parks unless you are with friends.
- Walk facing traffic coming towards you.
- Don't walk alone wearing headphones; you can't hear what's happening around you – this makes you much more at risk from cars.
- Carry a mobile phone, phone card or money to make a call if you want help.
- Help your friends and yourself to keep safe by looking after each other.
- If you walk to and from school then walk with friends. Maybe your school has a ‘walking bus' where kids join a group led by an adult to get you safely there.
But remember, the biggest danger to kids when they are out is danger from traffic on the roads. Always watch out for cars and bikes and be careful crossing roads.
If you are a cyclist our topic on 'Riding a bike' has some good ideas to keep you safe.
Dogs can also be dangerous if they are running loose in the street.
Our topic 'Pets - keeping yourself safe' will tell you more.
Think you're being followed?
Here are some things you can do.
- Cross the street.
- Look for a shop or petrol station and go in to ask for help.
- Use your mobile to tell someone where you are and what is happening. Keep walking towards home or a safe place while you talk.
- If someone tries to steal things from you let them have your bag or whatever. You are more important than any of your belongings.
- Shout "Fire! Police! Help!," as loudly as you can if someone is trying to get hold of you. Keep shouting and struggling to attract attention. But if you can't escape, remember that it is not your fault – adults and young people are stronger than kids.
Think a car is following you?
- Change direction so the car will have to turn round to follow you.
- Do not go near the car even if someone calls your name.
- Write down the car's number plate if you can and what make of car — but keep walking. Put the number into your mobile phone if you have one with you.
- Look for a safe place to run to or try to catch up to other people walking ahead of you.
- Use your mobile to call for help if you have one.
If you are home alone
- Don't let strangers into the house.
- Always make sure the screen door is locked if you answer a knock at the door.
- Keep doors and windows locked.
- If you hear someone trying to break in then switch all the lights on and call the Police on 000.
Keeping safe at the shops.
Many kids live near large shopping centres and may go there for shopping, medical appointments or entertainment eg movies.
If you are a ‘nearly teen’ you may sometimes be allowed to go off with your friends, or even by yourself, for a while.
- Make sure you know where and when to meet up with your friends and your parent or carer.
- Keep your money and mobile phone out of sight.
- Stay away from groups of noisy kids as sometimes there can be trouble.
- Keep an eye on your belongings at all times.
- Be aware that shop assistants will be watching you, unfortunately some kids get into shop lifting (stealing!) and they’ve given the rest of you a bad name!
- If you are allowed to go to a movie with your friends then be mindful of others and don’t get too loud.
- Be on time and at the right place to meet up with your adults or negotiate for extra time eg. If you want to grab a drink or a snack. Give them a call if there is a reason why you might not be there on time.
Getting to go somewhere without your parents or carers is a big worry for them. They are responsible for your safety and wellbeing -- and they care about you.
If you get into any difficulties look for the nearest security guard or any worker in the shops to help you.
- "If you think someone is following you, you should not panic!
- Stay calm and work out what to do using the ideas that are in this topic. You should quickly try to walk away and get to a shop or crowded place where people can see you." Yolanda
- "If you are in a bad situation you should yell out "Help!" or shout "Fire!" People should come out and see you and help you." Janelle
- "Once I was walking home from school and I thought a car was following me. I was scared but got home safely."
- "Walk fast, stay in a crowd and if you need to call for help shout loud so people hear you." Hannah
- "Be alert when you are outside. Don't have earphones on; then you can hear what's going on around you."
- "When you are with friends always look out for each other." Georgia
- "Sometimes when I listen to the news I hear stuff about kids being followed and hurt. It makes me worried, wary and scared because I imagine it could happen to me." Callum (Dr Kim says – remember that most of this is happening a long way from where you live. It is still important to go outside to play!)
Dr Kim says
Hearing about a child being harmed by a stranger can be very frightening for everyone especially parents and kids. It is especially awful if the child is someone you know, maybe even someone in your street or who goes to your school.
Maybe you are feeling scared or unsafe because of what's happened?
Talk about how you are feeling with someone you trust. Maybe your teacher could make time for your class to talk about how to keep yourself safe.
But remember, many more kids are hurt by people they know, especially bullies, and are hurt by cars. Think 'safe', plan how to keep yourself safer, then get outside and enjoy the great outdoors!!!!
Look at this site to learn about dialling 000. Remember that you only do this in an emergency.”
We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.