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Keeping our children safe, no matter their age, can be one of the most challenging aspects of parenting.

According to the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, the vast majority of children that go missing in Canada are not abducted, in fact, the vast majority are runaways.

Karyn Kibsey, manger of training and education with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection says we can no longer use "stranger danger" as a way to tackle the problem.

"When we talk about abduction, there are some stranger abductions. However, the vast majority of time when it is an abduction, it is almost three times more likely that it is someone that is known to the child that has taken them," Kibsey explained.

Kibsey says based on statistics, the concept of "stranger danger" is an outdated method. She says placing emphasis on a fear of strangers is not an effective approach for protecting children from victimization. Instead, she says it is about shifting our language and how we talk to kids about their safety.

"When we are talking to kids about those situations, a key thing is to have discussions that are age appropriate and developmentally appropriate," said Kibsey.

She says it is very important not to use any fear tactics, as it will only increase their vulnerability. She says the best way to approach the topic is in a calm and matter of fact way.

"Treat it the same way you would if you were teaching your child about wearing a helmet or buckling their seatbelt," said Kibsey.

Another great resource for teaching young people about safety is via books. Kibsey says that books help repeat the message and gives children different safe situations to learn about these risks.

The Child Centre for Child Protection has also released a list of the Top 5 Safety Habits for Life to help parents.

1. Check first

Get permission from parents before going anywhere with anyone.

2. Use the buddy system

Sticking together creates safety in numbers.

3. Some secrets should be told

Secrets that make you feel scared or uncomfortable need to be told to adults.

4. Trust your instincts

Pay attention to your body’s signals that warn you of danger.

5. Be assertive

Set clear boundaries about personal space and touching.

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