‘Talk to your kids about stranger danger’

Mum-of-three Leigh Potter believes parents need better information on how to teach their children to stay safe.  INNT 41-031-FP
Mum-of-three Leigh Potter believes parents need better information on how to teach their children to stay safe. INNT 41-031-FP

A WHITEABBEY woman has appealed to parents to speak to their children about the issue of ‘Stranger Danger’ after her eight-year-old son was the victim of an attempted abduction.

Leigh Potter’s son, Sam, was standing just yards from the back door of his Fernagh Road home last Monday evening (October 1) when he was approached by a man in a car.

“He went out to bring in the bin, which is one of his chores, and he was at the bottom of the driveway at the side of the house when he was approached by a man in a dark coloured car. The man said he had lots of money and asked Sam if he wanted to go bowling with him,” Leigh explained.

“Thankfully Sam did the right thing and ran back up the driveway, into the house and told us what had happened.”

Newtownabbey Police have confirmed that they are investigating the incident at Fernagh Road, as well as a report of a similar incident which occurred at Green Walk, Rathcoole on October 2 when a nine-year-old boy was approached by a man in a dark blue car. Again the boy did the right thing and ran away.

Following the two incidents, and in the wake of the disappearance of five-year-old April Jones in Wales, a number of primary schools sent out letters to parents warning them to be vigilant, and police have also been patrolling areas around local schools and youth clubs.

Leigh, who works as a childminder and also runs a mother and toddler group, continued: “I know the police are going into the schools and talking to the kids, but parents need to know that this is happening in our community and they need to know what they should be saying to their children to let them know how to stay safe.

“Parents should talk to their children from as young an age as they can understand. We don’t want to put the fear of God into them, but they should know that if a stranger comes to them they should scream and run away and tell their mum, dad or main carer what happened. They need to know never to get into a car or to go with anyone they don’t know.”

Read the full story in this week’s Times...