In the wake of numerous child luring attempts in Bergen County, including one in Ridgewood on Friday, Ridgewood Public Schools Superintendent Daniel Fishbein has offered up tips to keep kids safe.
In a letter addressed to parents distributed Thursday, Fishbein detailed eight specific ways to ensure safety:
1. Check first. Children should check first before going anywhere with anyone at any time for any reason, including going with relatives and people the child knows. They should always check first with the person who is caring for them at that time. If it is impossible to check with the caregiver, then the answer is “NO! You may not go.”
2. Use the Buddy System. When outside, children should always walk with at least one other person. Groups of more than two are optimal.
3. Remain anonymous. When outside the house, do not wear clothing, backpacks or other articles with their name visible on it. Children are more likely to trust someone who calls her or him by name.
4. Keep at arm’s length. Children should stay at least an adult arm’s length away from any car that is occupied by a person trying to talk to them so that they cannot be reached by the person inside the car.
5. Just say No. If someone encourages a child to get into a car, to help find a lost pet or to leave with them for any reason, the child should yell “NO” as loudly as possible and run to the closest adult whom they know and trust. Yelling "No" indicates the child has been prepared for the situation.
6. Run in reverse. If necessary, children should know to run in the opposite direction from the one the car is facing. It is harder to drive in reverse than forward.
7. Know who you are. Children should know their full name, address and the best phone number (including area code) to call in case of an emergency.
8.Get the details. Older children should be taught to pay attention to the color and make of the vehicle and/or its license information (state and number), the physical characteristics of the person(s), and where he/she was when approached. If they have a cell phone, they should immediately call 911 to report any attempted luring. This information will assist the police in their investigation.
I hope the above common sense tips will help you in your discussions at home about safety. If you have any questions or need additional information, please don’t hesitate to contact your child’s principal or my office.
Daniel Fishbein, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools