I have a confession. When I visit Disneyland, I let my guard down; I have a false sense of security and always tell people that “Disneyland is like home to me.” I have a feeling I’m not the only parent. When you strip away the emotion, fantasy and joy of Disneyland, I have to remind myself that Disneyland is a public place. We all do. In all my years working for and writing about the Disneyland Resort, I have never heard of anything sinister happening there, but that doesn’t mean that as a parents we can let our guards down even for a second. We want to believe that Disneyland is a fantasy, but we always have to be careful.
I am by no means a child safety expert, but I have talked with experts in the past for projects I have done in my professional life away from the blog. Below, I have put together what I have learned from some of the most interesting and noteworthy experts I have worked with or encountered as they relate to theme park safety. Please take some time to read these over and I encourage you to share your child safety tips in the blog comments below.
“More than 90% of sexual and physical abuse happens to children by someone they know, and in circumstances when a stranger doesintend to victimize a child, they will typically present themselves in a very friendly, alluring manner. In other words, their ‘stranger-danger radar’ doesn’t necessarily kick in,” says Fitzgerald. “Stranger danger actually does a disservice to kids. It’s more effective to teach children about ‘tricky people.’ By removing the word “stranger” and replacing it with “tricky people,” we’re encouraging kids to be alert to any and all people who try to break the family’s safety rules. ‘Tricky people’ helps kids to be mindful around people they know, don’t know or know just a little.”