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Last week, a brave 11-year-old girl playing with homemade blue slime while waiting for her school bus fought an attacker – and didn’t give up – until she escaped.

She kept her wits about her, smearing slime on his arms to make it easier for him to get caught – an idea she got from a crime show. She is safe, her attacker is now in jail – and the sheriff reported that his arms were streaked with blue dye when he was arrested!

Every time I hear a success story like this, I have an intense mixture of feelings – joy and relief that this child is safe – and rage and fear that this child was attacked by someone who would have caused her great harm.

Too often, news stories about kidnappings focus on fearful messages instead of providing important information readers can use right away to keep kids safe. So, we were overjoyed to read journalist Ellen Niz’s inspiring article in SheKnows showing this child’s strength and power – and including Kidpower safety tips and resources!

Our children do not need our fear. Suppose we were to tell kids, “There are these really dangerous things called cars – and, if you walk in front of one of them, you could get smashed to bits. It would hurt a lot and we would be very, very sad.” Talking about the bad things that might happen does NOT make kids safer -it just makes them anxious.

Instead, we start by crossing the street with our babies or toddlers in our arms, and then we hold hands – and then they walk next to us – and then, our hearts in our throats, we watch as they cross the street without us- and, finally, we let them go on their own.

Just as with crossing the street, learning how to be safe with people is an ongoing process, not a one-time conversation. We can prepare our children to avoid and escape from most attacks. Kidpower Stranger Safety resources will get you started!

Most attacks can be prevented through awareness, moving away from trouble, and getting help. And, before they go out on their own, children also need to have physical self defense skills so that they are prepared to fight if need be to escape from someone who is trying to harm them or take them away.

Here are two of our most popular Stranger Safety resources:
How to Pick A Good Self-Defense Program 
One Strong Move: Cartoon-Illustrated Self-Defense Lessons 

We will also be offering online introductory workshops that include physical self-defense starting this summer – they will soon be posted on our Workshops page!


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Kidpower Founder and Executive Irene van der Zande is a master at teaching safety through stories and practices and at inspiring others to do the same. Her child protection and personal safety expertise has been featured by USA Today, CNN, Today Moms, the LA Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Publications include: cartoon-illustrated Kidpower Safety Comics and Kidpower Teaching Books curriculum; Bullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe; the Relationship Safety Skills Handbook for Teens and Adults; Earliest Teachable Moment: Personal Safety for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers; The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young People, and the Amazon Best Seller Doing Right by Our Kids: Protecting Child Safety at All Levels.