Girl’s TV appearance a reminder to be safe

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Staff Report

The appearance of a Dallas County girl on &8220;The Maury Povich Show&8221; serves as a reminder for parents to teach their children basic safety tips.

The 10-year-old was nearly abducted Aug. 22 from a school bus stop by a convicted pedophile. She and her mother appeared on a segment of the show that dealt with missing children.

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The show emphasized how the girl’s mother taught her to run away from a stranger after seeing a story on Maury Povich of another girl who had been kidnapped and remains missing.

Joe Earl &8220;Puddin&8221; Edwards, 52, remains in the Dallas County Jail on $500,000 bond after he was captured within minutes of the attempted abduction. He had been convicted of a prior offense involving a 10-year-old female relative.

Safety Tips

Tips for parents on how to talk to children about avoiding predators, and general safety:

& Help your children learn how to get away, and keep a safe distance from an unfamiliar person who is trying to trick or force them to go with him or her.

& Discuss what to do if the person has a weapon. Although inherent with risks, sometimes a child’s only chance of survival, when approached by a person with a weapon, is to run or forcibly resist capture.

& Talk to your children about safe places to run if they are scared.

& Ask your children to let you know about anything that seems suspicious.

& Teach your children how to describe people and vehicles.

& Tell your children to never go off alone with anyone who says you sent them, unless the person can give a &8220;code word&8221; that only you and your children know.

& Tell your children to stay with a buddy or the group when waiting at the bus stop or playing in the park.

& Require your children to let you know where they are at all times.

& Teach your children to write down and report the license number of the person’s car when someone offers them a ride.

& Observe children at bus stops and report any disturbances. Assist them if they need help.

& Become familiar with persons and vehicles that drop off and pick up children from the bus stop.

& Report any people hanging around or any cars passing by the children on a regular basis.

& If your children misses the school bus, tell them not to accept a ride from anyone not pre-approved by you as a backup.

& Help monitor the bus stop or arrange for other parents to monitor it.

& Teach children how to spot trouble and be alert to dangerous situations.

& Make sure your children never play in deserted areas such as the woods, parking lots, or alleys.

& If your children must be home alone, tell them that they should never open the door for anyone and should keep all doors and windows locked.

& Help your children plan the best route to take when walking to school &045; never take shortcuts.

& Emphasize to your children they should NEVER, EVER hitchhike &045; NEVER!