Self Defense & Personal Safety Badge
(Discover Health & Safety)
by Sarah Bruekherr
This badge should be taught under the direct supervision of a qualified adult. This topic can be scary or overwhelming for younger children, so make sure all materials are age appropriate.
Penguins: Do three requirements including the two starred *
_____1.* Learn your full name and be able to tell it to someone. Know the phone number of your parent or guardian.
_____2.* Know how to find a safe person who can help you get back to your parents or caregiver if you get lost. Go over some safety tips on how to identify a safe person, such as police officers, store clerks, safety guards, etc.
Otters: Do three requirements including the two starred *
_____1.* Do Penguin requirements 1 & 2. You must also know the full name of your parents or guardians, and the phone number of one member of your extended family, such as an aunt, uncle, grandparent, or adult sibling. Also learn your home address.
_____2.* Why shouldn't you talk to strangers? Is it ever okay to go somewhere with a stranger?
Dolphins: Do three requirements including the two starred *
_____1.* Do Otter requirements 1 & 2. Know how to call 911 and when it is appropriate to do so.
_____2.* Learn how to stomp on someone's foot to get away if they try to grab you from behind. Practice yelling for help. Sometimes, when children have been abducted, bystanders have thought they were arguing with their parents or throwing a fit. What can you yell so people know this isn't the case and you are in trouble? Practice scenarios such as this.
Butterflies: Do three requirements including the two starred *
_____1.* Do Dolphin requirements 1 & 2. Learn three self-defense moves, including the one from Dolphin requirement 2.
_____2.* Learn what to do if you think someone is following you. What can you do in a situation like this? How can you tell whether a neighborhood is safe to walk alone in? Why shouldn’t you wear headphones or earbuds while out alone? Also, learn what to do if you think you hear prowlers outside, or if you think there is someone in your home or the home where you're babysitting. Under what situations should you investigate further? How would you escape or get help?
Eagles: Do three requirements including the two starred *
_____1.* Do Butterfly requirements 1 & 2.
_____2.* Learn the safety rules for moving out on your own.
- Change the locks - you don't know who might have had a key before you moved in.
- Get a lock for your bedroom door.
- Make sure you have a phone in your room.
- Have something in your room that you could use to defend yourself in an emergency, such as a baseball bat or heavy object.
- Do not give a copy of your key to someone unless you absolutely trust them. Even if they give your key back to you, anyone can have a copy made in just a few minutes. Be cautious.
- Make sure your daily routine is not too predictable - try leaving and coming back home at different times, and use different routes to go places.
Owls: Do three requirements including the two starred *
_____1.* Do Eagle requirements 1 & 2.
_____2.* Teach someone how to do a skill from this badge or teach some knowledge about this badge to someone. You can teach kids, your spouse, seniors, anyone, just as long as you are sharing your new found knowledge. If for some reason you cannot teach what you have learned to someone else, you may choose an additional 2 optional requirements instead.
_____3. Read an age-appropriate book or watch an age-appropriate documentary about safety.
_____4. How do the police investigate abductions? If possible, visit a police station or have a police officer come speak to your troop. Butterflies and above - also learn what role private investigators can play. What kind of training and education would you need to become either a police officer who investigates abductions, or a private investigator? (Owls, learn about both.)
_____5. Dolphins and below - Complete a coloring or activity sheet about safety.
_____6. In some countries, criminals will abduct vacationers and hold them for ransom, and terrorists will hold people hostage. Learn which countries are most dangerous in this regard. If you are going to a foreign country, learn how to ask for help in that country’s dominant language. Otherwise, learn how to ask for help in another common language in your area. Butterflies and above - how would you contact your embassy from a foreign country?
_____7. Dolphins and below - Sometimes, kidnappers will pretend that they’ve been sent by your parents or guardians to come get you, when really that isn’t true. Come up with a family code word for your parents to tell any grown-ups who they send to pick you up. If someone can’t give you the code word, don’t go with them. Make sure you choose something unique, and something that wouldn’t be easy to guess, like “dancing pink flamingos” or “grape tacos.”
_____8. If someone gets kidnapped, it’s very important that they stay calm so they can think well enough to plan an escape or way to get help. Learn some ways to calm down quickly. Try counting down from 100, reciting the alphabet backwards, breathing deeply, listing all the colors you see in a room, imagining a flower blooming, or tensing all the muscles in your body and then progressively relaxing them from your tiptoes to your face.
_____9. Learn how to escape if your hands were bound with duct tape or with plastic zip ties. If your hands are being bound with zip ties, what should you do to make sure the kidnappers bind your hands as loosely as possible?
_____10. Learn at least one method to escape from the trunk of a car. (Eagles and above, learn two.) If you can’t escape, learn how to pull out the tail light’s wires - that increases the chances of the police pulling the car over. Also practice making noise from the inside of a trunk, like by kicking it, in order to attract attention.
_____11. What is stalking? Who should someone tell if they are being stalked? When should they make a police report? Why is it important not to respond directly to a stalker?
_____12. If you cannot escape from your home during a home invasion, how should you prepare for the intruders’ entry? Why should you turn off your home’s power—or at least shut off the lights—during a home invasion?
_____13. How are missing people found? What non-profit organizations help to search for them? Do a service project for a group that helps find missing people, or volunteer or fund-raise to help search for a missing person.
_____14. Learn the rules of safety in parking garages and lots. It’s especially important to be cautious in them—they’re often sparsely populated, they tend to be poorly lit, and people in them are often distracted, making them a prime target for predators.
- Always stay cautious while in a parking lot—don’t allow yourself to be distracted listening to music or checking your text messages.
- Never get into your car without first quickly checking the back seat and passenger side floor—sometimes, attackers have hidden inside of cars.
- Make sure you lock your doors and windows as soon as you get into your car, and then drive away quickly. Many people will sit in their car for a few minutes with their car doors unlocked, doing things like fixing their makeup or checking their text messages. That can allow someone to pull open your door, or to get in your car through your back or passenger’s seat. Make locking the door as soon as you get in to the car a habit.
- If you feel uncomfortable for some reason—someone in the parking lot is making you nervous, it’s very late, or even for no reason you can explain—don’t be embarrassed to ask someone (like a store employee or guard) to walk you to your car.
_____15. Dolphins and below - Learn about good and bad secrets. How can you know whether a secret is okay to keep? If you have a secret that’s making you feel worried or uncomfortable, who are some adults you can trust to talk to about it?
_____16. Learn the rules of personal safety online.
- Don’t share photographs of you, your birth date, your full name, your address, the name of the school you go to, or where you’re going to be at a specific time with people you only know online.
- Remember that people aren’t always who they say they are online. Sometimes adults will pretend to be much younger than they really are, and use fake photographs to try to trick kids. If you know someone online, you only know who they say they are, not who they really are.
- Learn how to “block” someone on social media who’s making you uncomfortable.
- Learn about privacy settings on the social media websites you use. How can you make sure that people can’t see your posts or photos unless they know you? Learn how to set all your online profiles to "private."
- Never, ever arrange to meet someone you only know online without one of your guardians present. No matter how nice a person seems, this can still be really dangerous.
- If you see something that makes you uncomfortable online, who can you talk to about it? List some people.
_____17. Learn about the myths and facts of human trafficking. Some people think that human trafficking only happens far away in other countries, or only happens when people are kidnapped to different countries, or that no one you know could ever be a human trafficking victim. All of that is false. Learn what the warnings signs are that someone could be a human trafficking victim, and learn what the warning signs are for someone trying to lure you into human trafficking.
_____18. Learn about self-defense products, such as pepper spray and stun guns. Some products are made especially for women, such as pepper spray disguised to look like a container of lipstick. Where can they be bought, and how much do they cost? Also learn what kind of personal safety apps are available, such as SafeTrek.