Police have issued tips on educating their children on dealing with strangers after the discovery of a registered sex offender at the Hilliard Family Aquatic Center earlier this month.

Police have issued tips on educating their children on dealing with strangers after the discovery of a registered sex offender at the Hilliard Family Aquatic Center earlier this month.

Officer Suzanne Muraco said after the incident she was "bombarded" by phone calls from parents who want to teach their children about strangers. She said the police do not have any safety classes, but offered the following tips:

Teach your children that most people are OK but there are still some who cannot be trusted. Let them know if they learn some "stranger dangers" tips, they will be more likely to protect themselves.

Focus on prevention methods rather than quoting stories from the news that focus on a frightening story of a child victim.

Provide your child with a secret family code word that only you will give an adult who must use that word to pick your child up in an emergency. Without that word, children should be taught to never go with anyone -- not even a family friend.

Parents should instruct their children to never tell someone on the phone that they are alone and that no one else is home.

Teach your child that if they get separated from you in a public place to wait for a few moments in the place they last saw you and call out for you. If they do not get a response, they should ask for assistance from a store cashier, uniformed security personnel or a uniformed police officer.

If a stranger asks your child for help, he or she should tell them to ask another adult. Children want to help but need to understand they have to maintain a safe distance from strangers.

If a stranger comes to the door, children should not answer or let them in, especially if they are home alone.

If your child has to ask for help from a stranger, instruct them if possible to seek help from a police officer, teachers or parents with children of their own. Encourage them to remain in a public place and not to enter anyone's car or home.

Teach your child that if someone should attempt to take them against their will, say repeatedly and very loudly, "No! I don't know you!"

Teach your child to lock house doors when they come home if they are alone.

Officer Hyda Sloan said people need to continually talk about strangers with their children.

"It really comes down to the parents and what the parents have taught. Teaching a child something maybe once isn't enough to make a strong impact. They need to continually reinforce it, but not in a scare tactic way. They need to just continually run through scenarios and ask children how they would handle them," Sloan said.

Muraco said some parents assume their children know how to handle strangers and need to make sure.

She said children see their parents open the door to people all the time.

"So why would they do something different?" Muraco said.

calexis@thisweeknews.com