8 Tips to Prevent Child AbductionsBy Robert Siciliano May 25, 2012 | 02:00 PMPosted in: Child Safety, Family
In the past decade we have witnessed child abductions like never before. We say that “times have changed” and see abductions as a new phenomenon. The reality is child abductions have been going on since the beginning of time. In the 30’s, Charles Lindbergh Jr.’s 20 month old son was abducted and it garnered huge US media coverage.
Over the last decade the media has deemed this a hot button and has certainly brought major attention to it. And I’m sure any parent whose child is missing would welcome the coverage in the hopes it helps bring back their kid.
Growing up, the old-school training that I and many others received early on was “don’t talk to strangers” as if strangers were the dangerous ones. Actually, most abductions occur when a family member takes the child as a result of a custody battle.
When a true stranger steals a child, they often don’t survive beyond 3 hours. No matter what the statistics are, child abductions are real and they happen far too often.
Protecting yourself and children begins with understanding basic security.
#1 As simple as it sounds, do not engage in behavior that creates an opportunity for the bad guy. Today most helicopter parents won’t take their eyes off their kids, and I don’t see that as a bad thing. I know many will argue that point, but I don’t care.
#2 Always have recent pictures and video of your child for police if they go missing. If you are inclined to invest in a fingerprint of DNA kit that certainly doesn’t hurt.
#3 In the event that a child was to be approached, the best defense is a good offense. Resistance has often been a proven tactic for removing oneself from a dangerous situation. Running, screaming, biting, hitting and kicking feel unnatural when teaching your kids, but are certainly natural traits they possess. I say if they are good at it now, train them to do it better!
#4 As soon as your child is at an age where they can comprehend this issue it’s time to discuss it. Age 5 they have a pretty good grasp, but age 6 they seem to be on solid footing.
#5 Role play with your kids. This is a delicate balance of awareness and play. Intellectually introduce scenarios for them to respond to. See how they articulate a response. Let them figure it out on their own. Then if they don’t give you the answer you were looking for, work with them to understand the nature of their choice and its negative impact.
#6 Be specific, but be careful how you associate your analogies. Example: “if a white van pulled up next to you” will freak your kid out every time they see a white van and only make them wary of vans opposed to those in cars or on foot.
#7 Make sure to discuss Internet safety and online predators with them. Do your research and know what risks they face. Take control of their access to PC’s and mobiles and monitor everything they do.
#8 Most importantly, this kind of education is about empowerment. It’s about taking control. It’s a gentle awareness that can very well save their lives. Don’t guilt them into making the right decisions and make them feel bad about not understanding the issue. If they aren’t ready to comprehend the issue then back off.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has additional resources here:
Help keep your child safer.
Know what to do if your child is missing.
Get important resources on the issue of Child Identification.
Understand the importance of having a good quality photo of your child.
Know if your child is at risk for International Abduction.
Report Child Sexual Exploitation.
Help kids learn to stay safer online with the NetSmartz Workshop.
Get answers to your questions about Internet Safety, computers, and the Web with NetSmartz411.
Use the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children's Corporate Partner Safety Programs and Materials to assist you with keeping your kids safer.
Submit a video of your missing child to the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children's global missing children channel.
Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to Home Security Source discussing ADT Pulse on Fox News. Disclosures
Child Safety Tips
Keeping Kids Safe Online
Protecting Your Kids From Bullies
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