1. Stay still and chill-don’t move and be quiet. This is perhaps the most important in that, we want the child to remain calm and not run away.
2. Arms crossed like a boss-keep your arms still and close to your body. Again, we want to encourage staying calm and not raising arms or waving them around.
3. Face away like you don’t want to play-turn your head to the side, away from the dog. Much like a look away calming signal, just a turn of the head to keep the peace.
4. Eyes down on the ground, don’t stare at the dog. Encountering a strange dog is definitely the one time we don’t want a child to be staring or making direct eye contact.
The four steps of SAFE are presented as a game, all about making the situation as calm for the child as possible and as boring for the dog. SAFE can be taught to children to use if they encounter a dog they don’t know without an adult around or in the presence of a dog they do know since most dog bites occur between dogs and children that have some familiarity.