First, here are a few books/DVDs for kids about strangers; I highly recommend the first:
* The Safe Side - Stranger Safety
* Your Body Belongs to You
* The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers (First Time Books®)
* Not Everyone Is Nice: Helping Children Learn Caution With Strangers (Let's Talk Book)
* Who Is a Stranger and What Should I Do? (An Albert Whitman Prairie Book)
Now, here is what I have done to protect my two daughters:
I have told them that no adult man, or boy over about 12, has any business asking them for help, or approaching them. *The only help they should render is to go get me or their mother. *They should maintain distance between themselves and somebody they don't know, and they should tell the person to stop approaching. *If he continues, they should scream "PERVERT! *I don't know this man! *This man is not my Daddy!"
My girls, 4 and 6 years old, know the proper names for all their body parts, and are not ashamed of saying them. *They know that nobody, not even a doctor (if mommy or daddy are not there, too), has the right to touch them in certain places.
My girls know that they can refuse affection. *If they don't want to hug Aunt Helga, they don't have to. *When we're playing, they know to say, "Please stop; I've had enough!" to make tickling stop, rather than just screaming/laughing. *They know that attention should STOP when they say stop.
They know to pay attention to their surroundings. *I sometimes will play a game with them at the playground/mall/where ever and ask them, without looking around, to describe other people in the park, and where they are.
They know to trust their feelings; if another person does something that makes them nervous or uncomfortable, to get away, and tell an adult they trust. *I have told them that sometimes, an adult might do bad things to a child, and then tell that child that he will hurt them, or hurt their parents, if they tell anybody. *I have told them that as soon as they tell me, or their Mommy, or their teacher, that person will never get a chance to carry out his threat because the police will put him in jail (assuming I don't get him first...)
My six-year-old knows my cell number, their mother's cell number, and their grandparents' cell numbers; the four-year-old knows just Mom's number, and has a card with the others. *They know, if they ever get lost or separated, to look for an adult woman, preferably a Mommy, and tell her they're separated from their parents, and to ask the woman to call us on our cell phone. *I have actually drilled this routine with them, taking them to a mall/playground/fair ground, and tell them I'm going to sit down, and i want them to pretend they're lost, and go do what they're supposed to. *They both did exactly what I taught them, and had the desired result; the woman they asked immediately called me up.
When we're driving in the car, I quiz them on our phone numbers and addresses, and I roleplay scenarios with them.
At the park, i have pretended to be a stranger with a dog leash, looking for my puppy; in one case, I walked up to them and asked if they saw a puppy running around, and then walked away; in another, I asked them if they wanted to help me find my puppy. *I asked them which time was the help I asked for appropriate, and what they should do.
Perhaps all this robs them of some of their innocence. *But I'd far rather their childhood end a little prematurely than their lives.
Once, at a park, I saw a man carrying a little girl away. She was crying and kicking and screaming. Most likely a temper tantrum, but I wanted to make sure. I approached the man and asked if i could ask the girl who he was. At first he tried to push past me, but i got out my cell phone and told him if he didn't let me ask the girl if she knew him, I'd call the police immediately. So he stopped and let me ask her, and she confirmed it was her Daddy.
I expected him to be a bit upset for getting in his face, but he thanked me for checking.