Every day, many of us are informed through television or print news about a kidnapping that has taken place. Sometimes the victim is found alive and safe, other times the victim is never found, or he or she has passed away. These stories are incredibly frightening, and they become even more horrible when we realize that a kidnapping can happen to anyone at any location and at any time.
What is arguably one of the scariest facts about this crime is that sometimes children can disappear from their own homes without anyone else in the household knowing about it until it is too late. In this day and age, it is important to know that while there is usually nothing a parent or adult guardian of a child can do to prevent this crime from happening, and there is no guarantee that it will never happen, there are a few tips for keeping the children you love safe and out of harm's way.
15 Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Public Place
A child should not be left alone in a public place. Unfortunately, we cannot predict whether or not a stranger we see in public will have bad intentions involving our children when we are going to the store, to visit family, etc.
Leaving a child alone in a public place is incredibly dangerous and risky. A great way to avoid risking your child getting abducted is to make sure they are always with you, even if what you are doing only takes a few minutes. In those few minutes, anything can happen.
In fact, it may not even take a full minute for something like this to happen. A child goes missing approximately every 40 seconds, and each child has a 1 in 42 chance to be taken. When he or she is taken by a stranger, it is most likely from a public location, and this is also the type of kidnapping that is likely to involve the use of a gun.
14 Don't Allow Them To Play Outside Unsupervised
When a child is outside of his or her home without the supervision of an adult, an abductor may think that the boy or girl is alone, and therefore feel more bold when it comes to approaching the child. Kids who are taken by strangers often meet their kidnapper for the first time within a quarter mile of the victim's home.
An event such as this one can be avoided by one or both parents, or any other type of adult guardian, watching over them as they play. In a dangerous time like this, it is best not to let young children go outside of the home on his or her own. Additionally, on average, more girls are chosen by these criminals than boys, and the kidnappers target teenagers, as well as younger kids. On average, most of the individuals who take part in this awful crime will try to lure the victim to their vehicle, and others just grab them off of the street. However, this is not always the case.
13 They Lurk Right Under Our Noses
While a child being abducted by a stranger is not considered uncommon, there are two other kinds of abductions that are statistically more likely to happen. Family kidnapping, which is the most popular type, occurs when a relative of the victim is the kidnapper. The other type is referred to as “acquaintance kidnapping.”
Family kidnapping happens most often in the home, and it is usually done by either the mother or the father of the victim. If you feel that your child is at risk of being taken by a former spouse, a good idea is to notify your child's school, as well as other places they often go, about this situation so that they can be aware of the circumstances.
Acquaintance kidnapping has the highest percentage of teenage victims, and it is usually tied in with additional crimes, such as sexual assault. Although in many cases these events are not fully avoidable, it helps to keep a close eye on the people your children spend time with. Pay attention to their boyfriends, girlfriends, friends and other peers.
12 Create a Code Word
Because not all parents or guardians can watch over their kids every second of the day and night, it is important to teach children different ways to handle a possible abduction. A great way to do this is to come up with a code word that only the parents and the child know.
This can come in handy at any point, and has been known to work for some children who were approached by strangers at school and other public places. Usually, in moments such as this one, the abductor will arrive somewhere where he or she knows the potential victim is, and approach them, saying that the child's parents asked them to pick him or her up. The boy or girl will then ask them what the code word is, and when they get it wrong, the child will know something is wrong with the situation.
If your child is young, you can even make a game out of it for them, allowing him or her to choose the code word. This can even give you an opportunity to talk with them about the dangers of abduction, and what they can do if that situation ever arises.
11 Do Not Have Them Wear Clothing With Their Name On It
Since children are more likely to get taken by a family member or someone outside of the family that they feel as though they know quite well, it would make sense that a child is very likely to talk with an abductor who knows his or her name. Possible situations like this one might be a kidnapper telling the child they are a friend of mom or dad's and it is safe to go somewhere with them.
During this conversation, the person may mention the child's name a few times, making the potential victim become more comfortable with them and therefore making the chances them getting abducted go up even more. In case of situations like this one, it is best not to have your little ones wear clothing or any other accessories that may give away personal information.
10 Teach Them To Be Wary Of Anyone
I know that suggestion seems harsh, but we truly never can predict who will do what. Obviously a lot of people, such as grandparents, can be trusted with him or her.
But since it is extremely likely that, if they are taken, the chances are high that it will be by a family member, our children should always constantly be aware of their surroundings.
It is beneficial to teach kids what things are normal and okay, versus situations that are not normal and not okay. It is important that they also know to listen to their gut feelings. Inform him or her that if they feel uneasy or uncomfortable about someone or something that is happening, they should try to get away from that person as soon as possible. This is a grey area, because we can't necessarily rely only on our feelings when it comes to dangerous situations, but they can certainly serve as a good indicator that something is up.
9 Tell Them When NOT To Use Their Inside Voices
There are a lot of moments when we have told children to be quiet, and some of us who have been around kids in public have heard parents tell their kids to use his or her inside voices. However, there is at least one time when being as loud as they can be, as well as physically active, is definitely needed.
If someone is attempting to abduct a child, they are less likely to be successful at it if the young boy or girl begins to scream loudly to get the attention of others. On top of making their presence well known vocally, kids should also be physical with the abductor, whether that means running as fast as possible away from them before they are grabbed, or kicking, screaming, biting and even punching them to get free and then running away.
8 Teach Them To Speak Up If They Get Lost
Children tend to wander off a lot, and this happens many times in busy public locations. Sometimes, it can be nearly impossible to watch your child every second while also trying to maintain your busy daily schedule, especially if you are in a hurry. This is even harder when the parent in this situation has more than one child to keep an eye on.
No one ever anticipates that their child might get lost, but in reality it is likely to happen. There are some things children can be taught to do when this occurs. It is a good idea to teach your children that if this ever happens to them, there are people who may be able to help them until their parents are found. For example, if this does happen in a store, perhaps the child can approach someone who works there to assist him or her. It is also best to stay in a well populated location. Everyone, kids included, is more vulnerable when they are alone than when they are surrounded by a large number of other people.
7 Be Aware Of Who is Around
Everyone, no matter their age, needs to be aware of who is around them and what they are doing. This is also a key factor in making sure your child is safe from potential abductors, rapists, etc. Teach your child how to handle themselves so that if a situation does occur where he or she is without their parent, they still have a good chance of being safe.
One detail about kidnappings that most do not think about is that it is much easier for someone to take a child when they are not paying attention than it is to take one who knows what to look out for, and is aware of what is happening around them. We should have talks with our children about how they can physically keep their eyes on what and who is around them at all times, but especially during the moments that they might be left alone. An example of this is to let your child know that they should walk with their head up, and their eyes focused on their surroundings, as well as listening to everything around them. It is also beneficial to enroll them in self defense courses, in case it is ever needed.
6 Saying No To Strangers
This may seem like an obvious thing to do, but there are many children, especially younger boys and girls, who have been easily coaxed into going somewhere with people whom they had not previously met.
In some cases, these people do not seem threatening to the child because they may not look like a threat. Often, people like this also use clever tactics to lure children to go with them. These can range from the man or woman telling the child they lost a puppy or kitten and need help finding it, or they offer them candy, or sometimes they tell the potential victim to go with them because they have toys the child can play with. If children are taught about these particular types of situations, they are less likely to be the victim of someone who uses this kind of tactic.
5 Track Your Child's Location
One way to keep your child safe is to always know where he or she is at. However, sometimes that is physically impossible, especially if you are a working parent with a full time job, or you other circumstances that might prevent you from being with them every second.
In times like this, making sure your child has some way to contact you or another trusted adult is extremely important.
Giving them a smart phone not only provides your children with a way to get in touch with someone in case they are ever in a dangerous situation, but it also provides parents with the ability to be able to track their child's whereabouts in the form of downloadable apps that access the phone's GPS. This may not completely prevent a potential abduction from happening, but combined with other things discussed on this list, it can definitely help.
4 Show Them How To Be Safe On The Internet
Speaking of smart phones, these, as well as tablets and computers, can be both beneficial and dangerous for children who do not know how to effectively use the world wide web. However, there are a number of things you can teach your kids to make sure they stay safe while they are using the internet.
One of the things young boys and girls should know is it is not safe to put any personal information on the web. Posting phone numbers and addresses on social media websites and apps can be a danger, and parents should have a talk with their children about why they should not do it. Talking to your kids about these things can be very helpful, and it is good to give them reasons why or why not to do something instead of just telling them to do it or not do it.
3 Online Safety
Tell them never to agree to meet with anyone whom they met first online. This is another great tip for teaching them to be safe on the web. Parents may not always be able to keep an eye out on what who their kids are talking to on social media websites, so in case they do meet someone that way, it is important to make sure they know how to handle the situation properly.
In the event that your child becomes friends with a person they have not previously met in person, they need to know that it is not safe to agree to meet with this person. Because people may not always be who they say they are, kids need to be aware of why this is dangerous. Make sure your child knows that if someone they have not met in person asks to meet them after talking with them on an app, social media website, or game, he or she needs to talk about this with their parents and possibly other trusted adults in order to make them aware of what has happened.
2 They Know Their Information
Make sure your little ones know important information. Explaining the dangers of child abduction to little children can be a difficult thing for every parent to do. However, one thing that helps is to teach them the information they need to know about their home and family.
Children should be taught to memorize their address, as well as the phone numbers of adults that can be trusted and helpful, should the boy or girl be in a situation where they need to get in touch with them right away. It is also important to make sure they know to dial 911. Knowing these things can greatly assist your child in staying safe, especially when they are not around their parents. It might also help to see that children know the addresses of other friends and family members who are well trusted. If your child has a hard time remembering these phone numbers and addresses, you can write them down on a piece of paper.
1 Talking to Them
A lot of parents find this type of discussion hard to have with their boys and girls. However, it is definitely something that needs to be discussed. Additionally, there are some things you as the parent can do to make sure the conversation easier for them to follow and understand.
When talking to your children about this sensitive topic, especially if they are in a very young age group, keep a calm manner and tone of voice. You want to create an engaging conversation, but frightening them is not a good tactic.
Also, it is best to talk about this often, and not make this discussion a one time thing. If you speak openly about the issues, facts, and dangers of abduction, your children will feel more comfortable coming to you to ask questions. Another thing to keep in mind is that teaching children that it is more important to get out of this terrifying situation immediately than it is for them to be polite to a complete stranger is a good idea as well.