I've been silent too long, so here's a quick bit of common sense from a policeman who wrote to Free-Range Kids about common sense parenting: A Cop Weighs in on When to Call 911.
Being a street cop for 22 years, I have witnessed America’s slide from self-reliance to dependence in incremental steps. The invention of 911 has been a good thing and undoubtedly has saved many lives, prevented crimes, and has aided us in apprehending dangerous people. It has also revealed an embarrassing lack of critical thinking and common sense among some who call the police for everything.
Parents are afraid. Along with the daily media reminder their kids might die tortuous deaths, they also worry they might end up in jail if they allow their kids to walk to school alone. All of this can be solved by applying good, old-fashioned common sense and a balanced approach to safety.
The writer also teaches child safety programs. I haven't more than glanced at his Child Safety Fun blog, but you can check it out here if you're interested.
I teach them that most strangers are great people who are very helpful, but give them a few techniques to bolster their confidence and give their minds a rest knowing they will probably never need their skills, but if they find themselves in a jam, they know what to do.