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Spotting Danger Before it Spots Your Kids: Teaching situational awareness to keep children safe

by Gary Quesenberry

This is a book about presenting the concepts of situational awareness to children in a way that will keep them engaged and help them take an active role in their own personal security. We will show you how to use fun, interactive games to build situational awareness skills .


Item to be released on May 1, 2021.

Release date: 
May 1, 2021
Paperback: 168 pages
9 × 6 × 1 in
ISBN: 9781594398117
This item is eligible for free shipping (Conditions apply).
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As the world changes, we need to take the time to prepare our children

Things change. As the world becomes more challenging, we need to take the time to prepare our children. Not in a threatening or scary way, but in a way that is fun, engaging, and will give them the best possible chance of ensuring their own wellbeing.

Spotting danger before it happens is a skill that children can learn.

This is a book about presenting the concepts of situational awareness to children in a way that will keep them engaged and help them take an active role in their own personal security.

We will show you how to use fun, interactive games to build situational awareness skills such as:

  • How children can identify and understand normal environmental behaviors.
  • How children can spot abnormal behaviors within their given environment.
  • How to give children a plan and a means of avoidance or escape should a dangerous situation present itself.

What you impart upon children will have a lasting impact on the way they live their lives. Nowhere is this more important than in the area of personal safety.

“Your child’s future success will depend on their ability to interact with their surroundings and make sound decisions based on what they see. That’s the foundation of situational awareness.”


Gary’s latest book, Spotting Danger Before It Spots Your Kids,is an amazing piece of work that can prepare your children for the unexpected dangers they may one-day face. Given that there is an epidemic of child sex trafficking right here in the United States, our children need to be educated about the importance of situational awareness, but parents and caregivers need to provide that education in a manner that won’t completely terrify them. This book does an incredible job of giving adults the tools they need to do just that. Gary sets forth lessons that instill the basics of situational awareness in a way that is fun and engaging for both adults and kids. If there is a child in your life who you care about, please read this book. —Craig Sawyer, founder of “Veterans for Child Rescue,” former Navy SEAL, DEVGRU sniper

Many parents today believe that protecting their children from the dangers inherent in our society means avoiding sensitive issues and keeping their children locked away in a protective bubble. Spotting Danger Before It Spots Your Kidsbreaks you out of this mindset and shows you what children need to know if they are to navigate the uncertainties of the modern world. This book is a must-read for all new parents and young adults going off to high school or away to college. —Joseph Koury, thirty-year veteran, Special Operations soldier

 When parents, especially mothers, attend my trainings, the number-one question I get asked is, “How do I teach my kids situational awareness without scaring them?” After reading Gary’s book, I now have a resource I can recommend with complete confidence. Gary has taken all his knowledge and years of experience with the Federal Air Marshals and created a comprehensive and relatable step-by-step guide for building situational awareness skills in children. He shares stories of his own children’s quick thinking, as well as heroic tales of children who knew what to do in an emergency situation; these stories offer parents positive examples of the importance of building these skills. Gary expertly identifies age-appropriate games that can be played by anyone and explains how they build lifesaving skills in children. This book is a must-read for every parent! —Kelly Sayre, founder and president of The Diamond Arrow Group, expert instructor in Situational Awareness Training for Women, EAP consultant

Spotting Danger Before It Spots Your Kidsis a must for all parents.  Not only does Gary give you everything you need to keep your family safe, he imparts years’ worth of instructional experience.  Gary shows you the tricks of the instructional trade and helps you relay this extremely important information. This book is not designed to instill fear.  In fact, it will probably help the entire family to sleep better at night. —Billy Williams, supervisor, Counterterrorism and Explosives Training Section

As a former homicide and juvenile crimes detective sergeant, I can attest to the horrific dangers in the world we live in today. I know that if the victims of the crimes I investigated had had the tools contained in this book, they might still be alive. As a senior executive in law enforcement, I can confirm that there are grave dangers all around us. Most people are unaware of and often ill-equipped to survive these dangers. Gary is an expert in this field and teaches essential life-saving principles that are easy to learn and implement. —Dana Chong Tim, government executive, former homicide and juvenile crimes detective-sergeant

In this book, Gary applies his expertise on situational awareness to issues unique to children, and does it in a completely entertaining way. This will be your go-to guidebook for creating real security for your family. —Kelly D. Venden, retired Army Special Operations, federal law enforcement, owner of Criterion Tactical, LLC

Spotting Danger Before It Spots Your Kids: Teaching Children Situational Awareness to Stay Safe is one of those must-have parenting books. Gary Quesenberry is one of the premier experts in threat detection and situational awareness in the world. His vast experience makes him extremely qualified to offer his insights into any topic involving safety and security. He is also a proud husband and father who has put into practice the same techniques and methods while raising his own children. They are tested and proven. This is a fun and interactive book that helps kids figure out that they can have some level of control in their own lives and, more importantly, have the confidence that comes from knowing how to be safe and secure in any environment. It’s a must for every bookshelf in America. —Matt Cubbler, U.S. Army intelligence veteran, twenty-seven-year career law enforcement officer, former Special Agent with the U.S. Federal Air Marshal Service,author, speaker, host of the “Two Dates and a Dash Podcast”

I teach situational awareness, firearms courses, and instructor-level courses. I thought I was doing a pretty good job of passing on situational awareness skills to my children and grandchildren, but after reading this book, I have learned some things to up my game.

This is an excellent resource for parents and grandparents to help kids learn to be more situationally aware, listen to their gut instinct, be wise to the mood of their environment, and plan ahead for when things don’t turn out to be all rainbows and unicorns. Plan on reading this book more than once because it is packed with great information! —Dawn Dolpp, certified firearms instructor and training counselor

 This second book in Gary’s situational awareness series is must-read primer for all parents who want to keep their children safe in the dangerous world we live in. Purchase this book, and you will learn from one of the best. —Maureen Sangiorgio, award-winning writer, NRA-certified firearms instructor/RSO  

This book is truly eye opening! I deeply admire Gary’s openness and honesty in sharing his family’s own personal security scare. His story about having someone threaten his family’s safety while he was away serving our country as the tip of the spear for Homeland Security operations really connected with me as a retired law enforcement officer. It clearly illustrated the all-too-common tendency to switch on our heightened awareness when needed and inadvertently switch it off when we are home with our loved ones. This book will make every parent take a step back and see the bigger picture and how it affects their family. I was a big fan of Gary’s first book in this series, and this second book should be required reading for any parent out there. —Trampas Swanson, firearms instructor/training counselor, deputy editor of Private Military Contractor International magazine, retired law enforcement officer 

A brief, practical manual for parents and caregivers who want to help children identify and safely respond to dangerous situations.

This book aims to encourage kids’ eventual independence by teaching them basic principles of situational awareness and problem-solving. Quesenberry, a retired federal air marshal, firearms trainer, and defense training consultant, is passionate about his message that even very young children can develop ways to recognize potential threats and learn how to get help, when needed. He cautions adults against pursuing an overly simplistic “stranger danger” approach and focusing too much on kids’ use of technology, such as smartphones,rather than on real-world threats. He encourages readers to use everyday family activities to build children’s skills and strongly discourages teaching fearfulness or pushing lessons too hard. Throughout, he emphasizes building family teamwork, listening closely to kids, and talking with them honestly in ways that are developmentally appropriate. Some concepts derived from law enforcement, such as color-coded awareness levels and the OODA loop (“Observe,” “Orient,” “Decide,” “Act”), could have been presented in more reader-friendly terms, and an explanation of learning styles seems more appropriate to a business context, as few parents are likely to present their kids with flowcharts or PowerPoint presentations as learning aids. However, Quesenberry clearly explains his key concepts as well as a step-by-step process for teaching them to kids at different age levels, including recommendations for “Family Game Night” activities. Chapters include brief “Kids in Action” anecdotes involving heroism by real-life children between the ages of 3 and 13; simple exercises for parents and children to do together (usually in the form of games); and a helpful summary of “Key Points.” As the book goes on, readers are sure to gain confidence in their own ability to sensibly safeguard their young ones.

A detailed but mostly straightforward kids-safety guide.

Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Gary Quesenberry

Gary Quesenberry was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where his parents taught him the value of hard work, patriotism, and commitment to family. His passion for the outdoors and patriotic spirit led him to enlist in the United States Army at the age of seventeen where he served in the 7th Infantry Division as an Artilleryman during Operation Desert Storm. Shortly after being honorably discharged from the Army, Gary married his wife, Kelly and began his law enforcement career with … More »