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What Would You Do? A Kid's Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers

What Would You Do? A Kid's Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers
Keeping Children Safe

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Names on Children's Apparel - Unsafe Practice

"Your children need your presence more than your presents." (Jesse Jackson)

With children back in school, and undoubtedly stocking up on their school clothes for the new school year, this is a perfect time to give a relevant tip from my book, What Would You Do? A Kid's Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers.

Parents, your children may like having their name on their clothing and other apparel, but it is a very unsafe practice. Children should not have their names on their tee-shirts or other clothing. They should not have their names on jewelry or on backpacks. If a potential child predator should see your child's name on his or her clothing, the predator can use the name to try to gain the child's trust. Such tactics to gain the child's trust are common among predator lures.

To learn about common predator lures that potential abuductors will use to try to gain trust and access, for harmful purposes, to children, read, and have your children read, What Would You Do? A Kid's Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers.

The book empowers children to take a proactive role in staying safe from abduction or predator harm. It includes a chapter for parents, as well. It is targeted to elementary students, but is ideally meant to be a shared experience between parent and child, teacher and student. It is available through the publisher, Headline Kids, and through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Follett, Ingrams, and Baker and Taylor.
Check out the book website, Melissa Harker Ridenour Books, at www.AuthorMelissaHarkerRid​, to find endorsements and useful resources and links for children, parents and teachers.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Keeping Children Safe at the School Bus Stop

"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing." (Albert Einstein)

School bells all across the country will soon be ringing as children return for another school year. This is an appropriate time to provide readers a safety tip from my book, What Would You Do? A Kid's Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers.

Children waiting at the school bus stop, particularly if they are waiting alone, are a target for potential abduction. Teach your children that, if they should be approached at the bus stop by a stranger in a car offering a ride to school, they should refuse and get immediately away from the stranger as fast as they can.

Teach children that, while waiting at the bus stop, they should stand as far away from the street as possible. A child standing close to the street is easier prey for someone who may try to grab the child and pull him or her into a car.

The more children there are at the bus stop, the safer children will be. Instruct your very small children that they should stand in the middle of the group of children waiting at the bus stop. It will be safer for small children if they are surrounded by other larger children.

Children are safer at the school bus stop if a parent waits with them. My book suggests that parents can organize groups called Block Parents. Parents in such a group can take turns waiting with all of the children until the school bus arrives.

You can learn many other safety strategies to keep your children safe and empower them to take a proactive role in keeping themselve safe from abduction or exploitation by acquiring my book for them. - What Would You Do? A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers. The book is available through the publisher Headline Kids (a division of Headline Books, Inc.) - It is also available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, Follett, Ingrams and Baker & Tayloer

For more information about my book, endorsements of my book, and helpful information, resources, and links for parents, teachers, and children, visit the book website, Melissa Harker Ridenour Books -

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Where is Little Breann?

"Each child is an adventure into a better life --an opportunity to change the old pattern and make it new." (Hubert H. Humphre, former U.S. Senator and Vice President)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has joined the investigation and search for a 3-year-old girl who was reported missing Saturday in Missouri. Breann Rodriguez disappeared from her yard in Senath, Missouri Saturday afternoon while she and her 5-year-old brother were playing in the front of their house. Her 5-year-old brother had gone into the house for a moment to get a drink of water. Breann had been riding her bike. Breann’s father reported that both Breann and her pink bicycle she had been riding were missing.

My book, What Would You Do? A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers, explains to children that they should never play outside alone, even in front of the house. That is especially true for very young children, such as 3-year-old and a 5-year-old . Parents should always monitor their very young children when they are playing outside, even in their own yards.
Since it has been reported that Breann was riding her bike when she was discovered to be missing, I feel it is important to point out that my book, What Would You Do? A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers, provides children with self-defense strategies in the event they would get grabbed by a potential abductor. One of those strategies explains how a bicycle that a child is riding when an abduction attempt is made can be used by the child to make it more difficult for someone to successfully grab him or her.
Sharing such a book with your children can help to empower your children to take a proactive role in staying safe from abduction. Such a book could end up being one of the most important investments you could make as a parent.
A picture of missing Breann can be seen on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children using the following link:

Friday, August 5, 2011

Caylee's Law

We are connected,
My child and I, by
An invisible cord
Not seen by the eye.
(author unknown)

I can’t even begin to imagine why a parent or any child caregiver who has discovered that his or her child is missing would delay reporting the fact to police. To fail to do so is not only neglect, but criminally suspect.

A parent chapter in my book, What Would You Do? A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers, advises parents that, if they cannot find their child, not to panic. The chapter in the book suggests first searching the home, and then checking with neighbor’s and the child’s friends. The parent chapter in What Would You Do? A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers then recommends that, if the child still cannot be found, parents should call the police immediately. There isn’t a waiting period for reporting a child as missing. Therefore, no parent should wait to do so.

In 2008, Casey Anthony's 2-year-old daughter, Caylee , was last seen at her Orlando home. The mother, Casey, did not report her child missing for a month. Ultimately, Caylee’s grandmother called authorities when Casey was unable to explain where Caylee was.

Outraged over Casey Anthony's acquittal from charges of murdering her daughter, lawmakers in Florida and a dozen additional states have proposed a law they call, Caylee’s Law.
The proposed law would make it a felony for a parent or any child caregiver to fail to report a child under the age of 12 who has been missing for 48 hours. The proposed law would also make it a felony to neglect reporting a child's death or the location of the child’s body to police within two hours of the child’s death.
These new proposals were partially motivated by an online petition. You can sign the petition at “Create Caylee’s Law”

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Divorce and a Child's Well-Being

"Being divorced is like being hit by a Mack truck. If you live through it, you start looking very carefully to the right and to the left." (Jean Kerr)

There are other types of risks to a child’s safety, security, happiness, and sense of well-being besides the threat of abduction and predator harm, the subject that is addressed in my book, What Would You Do? A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers.
Children who are caught in the middle of a nasty divorce between their parents experience stress, confusion, sadness and depression. Parents must try to be as amicable as possible to avoid such trauma on their children. Children should witness that their parents can maintain a civil, healthy and possibly even friendly relationship with one another and that they maintain open lines of communication with one another.
Children should never be made to feel as if the divorce is their fault. Children shouldn’t be made to feel as if they are losing a parent either. It goes without saying that divorcing parents should never use the children as a weapon against one another. Divorcing parents in referencing the other parent in front of the children should always do so respectfully. Divorcing parents should never malign one another, at least in front of the children.
Divorcing parents who try to maintain an amicable relationship will help their children heal from the traumatic shift in their lives.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Love You Now and Forever

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living,
My baby you'll be.
(from the children's book, Love You Forever by Robert Munsch)

I can't even begin to imagine the amount of grief experienced by a parent whose child has died , or whose child has been killed in an accident, or whose child has been killed in some horrible act of violence. Children are supposed to outlive their parents. That's the circle of life. That is the way it is supposed to be.

Parenting is challenging in these increasingly troubled times. The Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that 75% of parents fear that something could happen, such as an abduction or death, to take their children away from their loving arms. Even when their children grow up with children of their own, parents never stop parenting and never stop having concerns. Parents' children will always be their "babies' even after the children are grown. That is instinctive.

A parent whose child's life is taken away by a senseless act of violence must experience the very worst kind of grief. Helping parents to keep their children safe and empowering children to take a proactive role in keeping themselves safe from abuduction, exploitation, or predator harm is the reason that I wrote my book, What Would You Do? A Kid's Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers. The objective is to protect children and spare parents needless, horrible grief - the kind of grief experienced by my childhood best friend's mother when her child's life was violently taken.

When my best friend and I were in the fifth grade, more years ago than I care to think about, I awoke on a Monday morning to my mother having to explain to me that my best friend wouldn't be in school anymore. She explained to me, as gently as she could, that my friend had been abducted, sexually assaulted, and murdered the evening before. That was a difficult thing for a fifth grader to comprehend. But the trauma stuck with me thereafter.
After my best friend was murdered, whenever I would walk to school, I would have to pass the site where my friend’s body was discovered. I remember for the longest time running, terrified, past that spot each time. Adding to the tragedy of the story is the fact that her mother, the next year, committed suicide by hanging herself. She was never able to cope with the loss of her daughter, her baby, especially in such a violent way.
That's why taking steps to keep children safe is so important. Parents and children, teachers and students who share and practice the strategies taught in my book, What Would You Do? A Kid's Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers are taking an important first step in accomplishing that safety objective.