Below are safety tips that will help protect children from abductors.
http://www.childwatch.org/Rule # 1 - Telephone
Children should learn how to use the telephone in an emergency. Here are some tips:
Rule # 2 - Family Password
- Tell your children they don't need money to dial 911 or 0 for the operator. They should dial 0 if they are lost or don't know who to call when they need assistance.
- Have them memorize their telephone number, including area code, as young as possible. Let them practice calling local and long distance numbers for you.
- Practice making a collect call with them. Teach them they don't need money to make a collect call, even if it is a local number.
- Children should learn how and when to use 911. Discuss different situations with them.
How can your child know if it's okay to go with another person without asking for your permission first? A FAMILY PASSWORD!
Almost every child is taught by their parents not to go anywhere with a stranger. This is a weak message to leave with a child. How can a child tell who a stranger is? An abductor could be someone the child knows.
They may trick the child by saying "Mom or Dad asked me to pick you up". Your child can keep some distance from this person by asking for the FAMILY PASSWORD. Teach your child not to go with anyone who doesn't know the password. Promise them you won't send anyone without it. Rule # 3 - I'm lost! Now what?
You come out of a store and turn around to find your child is not there, now what? It's time to put "Action Plan A" to the test. Teach your child, in advance, what they should do. A potential abductor may be able to take advantage of this situation if there is no plan.
First, your child should stay put and let you find them. They should stay in a visible area and not wander around looking for you. If they stay still, it will be easier than if both of you are moving, maybe in opposite directions. Alert security and show them your driver's license for identification and a photo of your child.
Teach your child if someone wants to help them, have them ask the person to look for you or call security or the police. Teach them to never go with anyone, ever. Tricks Used by Abductors
Rule # 4 - Secrets
- Help me find my lost puppy
- I need help with directions
- Offer gifts/candy
- There is an emergency
- I want to take your picture
- I'm making a reality TV show I want you to star in
- Your mom (dad) told me to give you a ride home today
The word SECRET is one that is used freely by both adults and children. Some secrets are good, some are bad, and some are ugly. Unfortunately, it is the most common weapon used by abductors to lure a child from safety. Children love secrets and most often see them as a way to feel independent from their parents. Your child should learn that if an adult asks them to keep a secret from you, this is a danger sign. The secret could be minor, a chocolate bar before dinner. What this person is doing is building up trust with the child to find out if they will tell everything. The secrets will build until they have control and power over the child. SECRETS = BLACKMAIL Rule # 5 - Good Lies?
You expect your child to treat adults with respect and grow up to be polite and honest, however, there are exceptions to these rules. In fact, there are times when they should scream as loudly as possible if someone tries to pull him or her into a car or building. Attention is the last thing an abductor is looking for. Now comes a mixed message. Lie to protect yourself. Children should never tell anyone they are home alone; in this circumstance tell your children that it's okay to lie to someone who insists on talking to their parents. For example, if someone is at the door and the child is home alone, have them explain that Dad is busy and can't come to the door. Baby-sitters should be given the same instructions. Rule # 6 - An Emergency Plan
Where would your child go in an emergency if you were not home? This is a question you want to address before it happens. Finding a trusted neighbor or friend's house for your child is very important for his or her safety. Identify this as a safe house. Choose someone who will likely be home most of the time, such as a retired person or a stay at home mother. Be sure to discuss this idea with them. Rule # 7 - Strangers?
Most abductors are known by the child. This means all the advice to never talk to strangers is useless if an adult known to the child is the abductor. Children should learn the difference between a good stranger and a bad stranger. If someone tries to pull your child into a car or lure him or her away, they may need to rely on help from another adult.
Children should learn that it's okay to get help from a stranger if they are in danger. Your children should NEVER go anywhere with a stranger without asking for your permission. Rule # 8 - Play Safe & Have Fun
Childhood is supposed to be fun, no pressure, no worries. As parents, this is what we want for our children. As we all know, there is no such thing as a perfect world, and children understand this better than we think. The news is filled with horror stories each night, which gives everyone, including children, a bleak picture of the way the world is.
Every city and town has its own set of problems, but in reality, the world is not filled with bad people. The violent crimes in this country are being committed by a small percentage of the population. These people are extremely dangerous to adults and children. Children need to understand that these predators have patterns and habits that can be avoided. Child predators look for opportunities, but once children realize this they can avoid potentially dangerous situations and protect themselves. Children should understand that most people would not harm them and the bad guys don't wear black. Remind your children to play safe, have fun, and enjoy being a kid. Other Rules to Remember
- Never allow your children to go alone to video arcades, public restrooms, parks, public pools, movie theaters, door to door selling, or school yards after hours.
- Instruct your children to always use the buddy system.
- Don't display your child's name on the outside of their clothing. This makes it easier for a stranger to approach and pretend to be your child's friend. This is also true of stickers placed in the back window of the family vehicle showing the names of all the family members. Although these are cute, it may provide a stranger with the names of all the children in the family.
- Tell your children to avoid shortcuts and isolated areas.
www.escapeschool.com/1-Abduction.shtmlA Parent's ChecklistYoung children should be taught to:
- Never say they are home alone when answering the phone. Teach your child to take a message and say their parents will phone back.
- Never answer the door. Whether home alone or with another adult, a young child is no match for someone trying to gain entry into the home or abduct the child from the entryway.
- Never invite anyone into the house without the permission of a parent or other responsible party within the home.
- Never go into other people's houses without letting parents know where they are.
- Never get into anyone's car without a parent's permission.
- Never take gifts or food from strangers or anyone else without asking a parent first.
- Never play in deserted buildings or isolated areas.
- Move away from a car that pulls up beside them if they do not know the driver. Run in the opposite direction the car is driving. Remember, get away...right away.
- Say 'no' to anyone who wants them to do something you've taught them is wrong. Give your children permission to break the rules if they feel their safety is at risk.
- Tell you, school authorities or a police officer about anyone who threatens them.
- Never to keep secrets from you. Teach them to tell you if someone has asked them to keep a secret from you.
- Go to the nearest cashier if lost or separated from you in a store or mall.
- Know how to dial 911 and explain their emergency. If using a pay phone under pursuit or if detained in a stranger's home...DO NOT HANG UP THE PHONE. Police can use the open line to track the child.
- Never to hide from parents in a store.
- Scream and kick if someone grabs them and tries to take them forcefully. Teach them to yell, "Help, this is not my Dad/Mom!"
- Tell you where they are at all times or leave a written or recorded message at home.
- Never hitchhike.
- Avoid shortcuts through empty parks, fields, laneways or alleys.
- Go quickly to the nearest occupied public place (malls, stores, fire stations, gas stations) and scream for help if they are being followed.
- Learn to recognize suspicious behavior and remember a description of the person or vehicle to give the police. Write the plate number in the dirt or snow if nothing else is available.
- If approached for money, jewelry or clothing give it up rather than risk injury.
- Feel that they can talk to you and call you to pick them up any time, any place.
- Never operate a car under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Never get in a car as a passenger if the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Scream and kick if someone grabs them and tries to take them forcefully.
- Know that all rules change when they are physically threatened.
- Avoid clothing and toys with your child's name on them. A child is less likely to fear someone who knows his/her name.
- Check all potential babysitters and older friends of your child.
- Never leave a child alone in a public place, stroller or car, not even for a minute.
- Always accompany young children to the bathroom in a public place and advise them never to play in or around the restrooms.
- Always accompany your child when going door-to-door, such as collecting donations for school fundraisers.
- Point out safe havens such as cashiers in stores, fire stations, store security officers and other places or people children can go to if they need assistance or feel threatened.
- Keep an up-to-date color photograph of your child, a medical and dental history, and have your child fingerprinted.
- Talk to your children. Ask who, where, what and when.
Who are you going out with? Who will be supervising or chaperoning? Who is going to be there?
Where are you going? Where do they live?
What will you be doing? What are their parent's names? What is their telephone number?
When will you be home? When does the function start? When is it over?