Category Archives: In Defense Of

Safe Side SuperChick Weighs in – Keeping Our Kids Safe

[This post is part of the "In Defense Of" Series]

I am SO excited about today’s guest poster… Safe Side SuperChick!  Well, her name really is Angela Shelton and she actually is WAY more awesome than even SuperChick.  Angela is an activist, screenwriter, author, actor and public speaker. She blogs about writing, performing, enhancing your creativity, and living a joyful well-balanced life no matter what you’ve been through.  Today Angela is sharing with us tips on keeping our little ones safe.

You want your kids to be safe, right?

I assume the answer is yes.

Parents of young children are (hopefully) always looking at new ways to cultivate awareness in their children, establish healthy boundaries and give them confidence to defend themselves.

Playing Safe Side Superchick in The Safe Side series was not only my most favorite job ever, it was a blessing to be able to help keep kids safe after having been through the kind of abuse that the videos are helping protective parents and guardians to avoid!

Safe Side Superchick!

The Safe Side DVDs really are great and they are very fun and funny so they don’t freak kids out with creepy perpetrator information. They teach fun ways to stay on the safe side.

I received this email from a parent yesterday (and I get these a lot)

My 3 year-old utilized her SafeSide super skills this week and ran away from a creepy guy who got between myself and her in a public place. (Note that I’m not neglectful but was trying to chase down my 15 month-old son and let go of her hand to grab my baby before he toddled off the edge of a stairway.) Creepy dude stepped inbetween us in that instant. Thank GOD she loves that DVD and comprehended what she should do if ever such a situation were to occur! She screamed “DON’T KNOW… He’s a DON’T KNOW…MOMMY!!!” and ran toward me. She got the attention of all the adults around her and creepy dude’s wife grabbed him by the elbow and took him off to a corner to scold him. Meanwhile all eyes were on her and everyone nearby seemed relieved when she grabbed my hand and we walked away. So, thank you, again for being such an awesome teacher!

I love hearing these good stories! And I love it when little ones run away from creepy dudes! But as fun and helpful as the videos are, you can’t just pop a video in and be done with all safety measures.

How do adults keep kids safe?

Want my opinion? Here it is!

  1. Be sure all adults around your children are educated about predators. has a great program called Stewards of Children that teaches adults on how to recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. It is very affordable and can be taken online or taught in person by a facilitator. I urge any parent to be sure that ALL adults around your child have this training. It does not take up that much time and you are also doing a service to other parents by insisting that the teachers, coaches, bus drivers, Sunday school teachers etc etc are all trained. Continue reading

Home protection – Security Basics

[This post is part of the "In Defense Of" Series]

Guest Post by RockstarDad - My husband is always conscientious of our family’s care and protection.  He also cares about the security and safety concerns of everyone he meets.  (Staying at a hotel is never simple as he is always inspecting the quality of the fire alarm systems in the places we stay; it is not rare that we pack up and leave if a building doesn’t meet code!)   It’s one of the qualities that make him great at his job, but it is also something that makes me feel loved – the fact that he wants to take care of me and protect our family.  This part of the series is focused on tips he has learned over the past 20 years in the security industry in keeping our homes safe.

Bad guys look for three things when selecting a home:

  • Get in fast
  • Get out fast
  • Remain unnoticed

It is your job as parents to make your home unattractive to the bad guys, keeping them out, and having a plan if they get in.

Home security starts with the locks

Every home typically has a lock on all of the doors. Is it a good lock? Has it been installed properly? Is the door the lock is on able to withstand kicking, ramming, or a crow bar? Continue reading

Police Officer Interview

on duty

Image by US Army (echoforsberg)

[This post is part of the "In Defense Of" Series]

I would like to reiterate that the purpose of this series is not to be alarmist or fear-mongering, but to educate and empower mothers of young children regarding their personal safety.  In this article Officer Doyle offers several suggestions and options for protecting your home.  We touch briefly on firearms, but I want it to be very clear: we are not debating the Second Amendment here.  These are just suggestions and you need to discuss these options as a family and come up with what is best for YOUR home.

Last week, I interviewed Officer Doyle on the subject of personal safety for mothers with young children.  I had a bunch of scenario-based questions that ended up being totally irrelevant once we began talking.  So, instead of giving you a play-by-play Q&A I’m going to offer you a coherent summary of our conversation.

There are three important components to personal safety that correlate to your mind, body and heart.


In order to protect yourself and your children you should be as physically fit as possible.  Life is full of surprises and some of them might not be so nice.  You need to be able to pick up your kids and run to escape danger if necessary.  Or perhaps dash across the road to save a distracted child from an oncoming car. Or (even worse) wrestle your baby out of a predator’s grasp.  In any of these scenarios, you need to be strong, healthy and fit to be the best guardian you can be.


You need to be aware of your surroundings at all times.  Check out your destination before arrival, either online or just by scoping out the joint before you get out of your car.  Notice who is standing behind you in line, walking behind you at the mall and watching your daughter at the aquarium, etc.  Use common sense: no walking alone in dark alleys, hold your kids’ hands, etc.

Have a backup plan.  Notice where the exits are when you enter a room. How would you get out in case of a fire or if you were left alone with someone a little creepy?  Run through different scenarios in your head: what would you do if someone came up behind you and snatched your purse?  while you are pushing a stroller and holding your preschoolers hand?

Be prepared. Have a charged cell phone on you with 911 on speed-dial.  Know where your car is parked in case you need to get there quickly (way easier said than done most days juggling babies/toddlers, but you understand.) Continue reading

Home protection: Fire Safety

[This post is part of the "In Defense Of" Series]

Guest Post by RockstarDad

RockstarDad is a licensed security and fire safety professional with 20 years experience designing, installing, and maintaining residential, commercial, and industrial security, fire protection and life safety systems. He has obtained the highest certification level from NICET (National Institute For Certification In Engineering Technologies) in Fire Protection Technologies.

House fire

Image by Ada Be

You only have 3 minutes to escape your home after the smoke alarm goes off.

So, What’s your escape plan?

Quick what do you do? Where are the kids? Do they know what to do? Where is your spouse? What do you take with you? Do you call 911 now? How will you know everybody is out of the house?

Wow. Scary stuff. You need a plan. Continue reading

Keeping our kids safe online

[This post is part of the "In Defense Of" Series]

Two Bloggers, after Norman Rockwell

Image by Mike Licht,

In this digital age, everyone is plugged in.  Including my three year-old daughter.  She loves mommy’s iPhone, nana’s iPad and daddy’s music gear on the PC.

We limit media use to two hours a day in accordance with the AAP guidelines, but I admit that I am not perfect and sometimes rely on Netflix more than I would like… especially when cooking lunch and dinner.

There are many benefits to allowing preschoolers access to media and technology.  I believe that the sole reason 3 year-old RocketGirl can read is because of WordWorld and SuperWhy.  She has also learned to trace her letters, improve her shape recognition skills and practice reading by using games and the Kindle app on my iPhone.  (For my full review on toddler/preschool iPhone apps, please check out this past post of my recommendations.)

With all of these benefits and perks, though, online media usage does have its drawbacks.

  • Viruses can erase your entire system, someone can break into your system and alter files, someone can use your computer to attack others, and someone can steal your credit card information and make unauthorized purchases (US-CERT)
  • Accounts can be hacked using information that YOU have shared online: passwords (is your favorite password the name of your dog, firstborn child or other information you’ve posted all over FaceBook?), name of your bank (shared all over the place if you “Like” your bank on FaceBook), etc.
  • Predators and stalkers can find you based on: current location (automatically uploaded anytime you post a photo online if you do not have your location services settings properly set on your phone’s camera), home address (searchable on, etc.
  • One in five children is sexually solicited online, according to Online Victimization: A Report on the Nation’s Youth

How do we stay safe online as adults?

  • Do business with reputable companies – Before providing any personal or financial information, make sure that you are interacting with a reputable, established company. Some attackers may try to trick you by creating malicious web sites that appear to be legitimate, so you should verify the legitimacy before supplying any information (see Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks and Understanding Web Site Certificates for more information). Continue reading

Teaching Preschoolers about Personal Boundaries

[This post is part of the "In Defense Of" Series]

Children have a natural desire to explore the world and test boundaries. As parents it is necessary for us to explain where those boundaries are, how to interact within them, why they are important and to role model proper use of them.

Playground Primary Colors

Image by Carl Wycoff

It is important for children to understand their boundaries  in order to cultivate self-awareness, establish confidence and protect them from predators.

This is a topic that I have approached with much trepidation.  As a kid, I was one of those overly affectionate little charmers who would approach anyone and give them hugs and kisses.  As an adult I still remain pretty affectionate with “kinda-knows” and probably (ok, obviously) share too much information with strangers.  But the fact is: personal boundaries are important – especially when it comes to protecting our children.

Overwhelmingly, the evidence points to the importance of personal boundaries in keeping children aware of potentially dangerous situations and how this can help reduce the risk of victimization.  Child sexual offenders often try to break personal boundaries, gain trust and normalize sexual activity between adults and children. Children with an understanding of personal boundaries are more likely to disrupt the grooming process, thereby reducing their risk of sexual exploitation. (Canadian Centre for Child Protection)

Since children are more likely to be molested by someone they know (such as a teacher, family member or babysitter) it is necessary to go beyond the guidelines for “kinda-know” and “don’t-know” to specifics of personal boundaries and to empower children to defend their own space.  Furthermore, research has shown that it is crucial to empower children by giving them the right to say NO.   Every child needs to understand clearly that: Continue reading

Teaching Preschoolers about Stranger Danger

Teaching our kids about personal safety

[This post is part of the "In Defense Of" Series]

This isn’t a topic that I am really anxious to talk about with my kids.  I want my children to be inquisitive and friendly.  I don’t want them to be afraid of people.  On the other hand I also want them to be safe.  I want them to be confident and self-aware.  The only way to ensure that they are, though, is to teach them.

I decided it was time to talk to my 3 year-old daughter about “stranger danger” when she told me that the UPS guy and the grocery store cashier were her “friends.”  Every kid is different, but RockstarGirl seems to learn best from TV.  (Don’t ask me why; I was SO against kids watching TV before I had any.)  So I did a lot of research and came up with the Safe Side DVDs.  [Safe Side Kids was founded by John Walsh (America's Most Wanted host) and Julie Clark (Baby Einstein creator) in 2005.]

Continue reading

In Defense of … Self-Defense: A Series on Safety for Moms

Swansea University Karate Club (6)
I know this isn’t a topic that we moms like to talk about.  I don’t want to talk about it really either.  However – after some serious prayer (really, Lord?  this topic?) – I think it’s something we should talk about.

First and foremost: It isn’t wrong to take care of ourselves.  Or our children.  It is necessary.  And it’s our job!

I want my children to grow up trusting that most people are good.  I want them to be cheerful, joyful, inquisitive and friendly children.   I want my kids to have the confidence to ask the librarian where to find a book and order their own meal.   I don’t want us to live scared, secluded lives.

Unfortunately, though, there are bad people out there.

We can’t be with our children every second of every day.  One day they will leave the nest, either at school or a playdate, and we need them to be aware, informed and confident about their boundaries, how they interact with strangers and how they behave in public and online. 

And that goes for us moms, too.  Many of us are at home alone with little ones for most of the day.  When we are out and about we are distracted by fussing babies, curious toddlers and wily preschoolers.  And distracted mommies are a target for predators.

Note that I say “target” and not “victim.”  My intent is not to be alarmist.  What I want to promote is awareness, education and confidence.

So, I am starting this multi-part series on Defense.

This series includes the following topics:

  • Stranger Danger

  • Personal Boundaries

  • Online Safety

  • Fire Safety

  • Police Officer Interview

  • Home Security Basics – Locks

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