Illawarra parents have been urged to hammer home the stranger-danger message after a man exposed himself to two children in Warrawong as they walked home from their first day back at primary school.
Police said the nine-year-old boy and his eight-year-old sister were on a lane between Cowper Street and Third Avenue in Warrawong at 3.15pm on Wednesday when the man approached them from behind.
He indecently exposed himself and tried to talk with them, but ran off towards Cowper Street when the girl took out her mobile phone, police said. The children ran home and told their mother.
Lake Illawarra Police patrolled the area but could not find the man, described as 18-30 years old with a tanned complexion, black hair and medium build. He was wearing a black shirt, denim shorts and black sunglasses.
Police have encouraged parents to discuss safety with their children, including the need to walk straight home, know safe places and not talk to strangers.
Police advise children to yell out, "Go away, I don't know you", if they are grabbed by a stranger.
Anyone with information about the Warrawong incident should call Lake Illawarra detectives on 4232 5363, or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Meantime, paramedics are asking parents to take simple steps to reduce the chance of accidents around schools.
Ambulance chief superintendent Ian Johns said parents who were running late could be tempted to pull up and park in dangerous and illegal locations to let their children out of the car.
"School gates are busy times at the start and end of the day with general peak-hour traffic and now parents and children arriving en masse," he said.
Paramedics have encouraged everyone to plan the safe delivery of children to school and be aware of school zones and 40km/h speed restrictions.
Safety tips from NSW police
Make sure your parents or another adult you know knows where you are at all times.
Always walk straight home or to the place you are walking to. Walk near busier roads and streets, or use paths where there are lots of other people.
Know where safe places are – shops, service stations, police station, library or school. If you are ever frightened, you should go to one of these places and ask them to call the police.
Learn about safe adults you can look for and talk to if you need help – police officers, teachers, adults you know and trust.
If you are scared and can use a phone, call 000 and tell them you are scared.
If someone tries to grab you, yell out, ‘‘Go away, I don’t know you’’.