Stranger Danger...Prevent Your Child from Becoming a Victim
Oct 28, 2015
Approximately 300 children are abducted each year. Of that number, 50 to 150 are usually killed. As a parent, these figures make you want to hug your children and never let go. Keeping your child confined to the home isn’t realistic and therefore won’t help prevent child abduction. However, being informed, teaching your child safety tips for the outside world and protecting your kids can prevent child abduction.
Normally, when one hears about a child abduction you think of the stereotypical kidnapping, where the child is taken by a stranger. However, there is another type called parental child abduction or family child abduction. A parental child abduction happens when a parent violates the custody order of the court by fleeing with the child. Family child abduction is a serious problem, but in this article we will be focusing on stranger abduction and tips to keep your child safe.
Children are innocent and trusting and we don’t want to take that away from them, but they need to be informed to keep them safe. It is important for your child to understand that they should never go anywhere with someone they do not know, even if the individual looks nice or is offering them something for free. We all know the saying, “Don’t take candy from strangers” and have imbedded this in our children’s heads. Abductors also use animals to lure children in. The abductor will ask for the child’s help to find a lost animal or will entice them with a cute animal. A recent child abduction social experiment has gone viral. In the video the gentleman uses a white dog to get children to walk away with him and if you watch the video you will see that many children don’t even think twice about it. This is extremely troubling and we need to make sure our children understand never to go anywhere with a stranger and that an adult does not need help from a child.
Another common way an abductor will entice a child is to claim that the child’s parents have asked them to bring them home because of an emergency. It is easy to tell your child to not accept candy from strangers but how do you let them know what to do in case of an emergency and a stranger comes to pick them up? Especially if they are dressed like a person of authority such as a police officer or fire fighter. In case of an emergency, teach your child a “safety password”. The safety password will be a word that you and your child have come up with in case someone else out of the norm needs to pick up your child due to an emergency. Before the child goes anywhere with the person, they need to ask for the password. Obviously make the password something that is meaningful to you and your child so it is memorable but not common enough that the average person could guess it.
How Your Child Should Respond
Children need to know it is okay for them to say no. They should not worry about being polite if they feel like they are in danger. What should your child do if they find themselves in a potential abduction situation? Children should do anything they can to get away from the abductor. They can scream, “stop stranger”, they can flail their arms and legs making it hard for the attacker to get a good grip, they can grab and hold on to anything near them, a tree, a bike, a stop sign and do not let go. If your child is able to get away from an abductor they should go to a point of safety and call 911.
Child ID Kit
As of June 30, 2015, 703 children (17 and younger) have gone missing in Wisconsin. According to missingkids.com the most important tool for law enforcement when searching for a missing child is an update-to-date good quality photo, description information and finger prints. All this information can be included in a Child ID Kit. You can pick up a Child ID Kit online or from local retailers or grocery stores.
FINAL SAFETY TIPS
Teach your children their full names, address and phone numbers.
Teach your child if separated in the public place, go to the checkout counter or security office.
Children should never wear clothes or a back pack displaying their name.
Have and use a safety password.
Never get into a car or go to a different location with a stranger.
Grownups do not need help or directions from children.
Always ask parents’ permission to leave the yard or to go into someone’s home.
Never go places alone, take a friend with you
Never leave your child alone in a public place or car
Child abduction is a serious problem that can happen in any community. Please speak with your children about how to protect themselves and put some of these safety tips into practice. Bringing awareness to the issue and providing useful information in preventing child abduction are two things that we at Pedersen Law Office, LLC can do to help our community.
Gross, Gail M.D. “Safety Tips to Help Avoid Child Abduction”. Huffington Post 16 May. 2013: Page 1. Web. 13 Jan. 2015.
“Wisconsin Missing Person Statistics”. wimissingperson.doj.wi.gov. n.d. http://wimissingpersons.doj.wi.gov/wisconsin-missing-persons-statistics. 1 July. 2015.
“Family Aductions”. FBI.gov. n.d. http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/vc_majorthefts/cac/family-abductions. 15 Feb. 2015.
JoeySalads. “Child Adduction Social Experiment”. You Tube. You Tube, 2 May. 2015. Web. 15 June 2015.“Top Five Ways for Parents to Protect Children”. drphil.com. n.d. http://drphil.com/articles/article/623. 15 June 2015.