Where do you go when you’re scared, lost, or sick? We teach our children to be wary of strangers, but what happens when children are away from home and need help? Thanks to the Edmonton Safe Parents Association, help is only a skunk away!

Spunky the Skunk is the mascot in the window sign of the Edmonton Safe Parent Association. It’s a red, white, and black sign of a skunk holding a child’s hand. Approved and screened volunteers (Safe Parents) display this sign in their windows when they are home and available to help.

“A Safe Parent is an adult who is concerned about the well-being of Edmonton’s citizens, especially children and seniors,” said Karen Larsen, office manager at Edmonton Safe Parent Association.

The organization’s focus has been on child and senior safety because these age groups tend to be the most vulnerable. That said, anyone should feel comfortable using a Safe Parent home if lost and afraid, feeling unwell, in a threatening situation, in danger from an animal, on a bad date and needing a safe place to go,  or having vehicle problems and needing help.

Safe Parents help by calling the police or the person’s family and then providing that individual with a safe place to wait until help arrives. However, volunteers are not expected to provide things such as food, transportation, or first aid (unless specially trained). They also don’t resolve conflicts.

Safe Parents are police-screened adult volunteers willing to help someone in an emergency situation. To become a Safe Parent, you must be over 18, have no criminal record, and complete all required paperwork.

“Only those without criminal records will be given Safe Parent status. This ensures that all Safe Parents are ‘safe’ strangers,” said Larsen.

Volunteers must also agree to display the Safe Parent window sign responsibly. This means displaying the sign only when they’re home and able to provide immediate help. Each sign has a special code unique to that volunteer.

The Edmonton Safe Parent Association is the result of a rebranding in 2006, and 2018 will be the association’s 45th anniversary. The organization was started in Hamilton, Ontario in 1968 by the Jewish Women’s Council in response to a missing boy. Edmonton was the first city outside of Ontario to start such a program.  

The more Safe Parents we have, the more the signs are displayed, which all helps to make Edmonton a safer place to live.

If you are interested in being a Safe Parent or are looking for more information, visit www.edmsafeparent.com.


9321 Jasper Ave

780.433.9374 or safeparent@telus.net

8 am to noon and 1 to 3:30 pm, Monday to Friday

Feature image: Edmonton Safe Parent Association helps provide safety and guidance to Edmontonians, especially children and seniors. | Pixabay