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Child Safety: Preventing Child Abduction

Overview

Many parents worry about their child being abducted. You can teach your child how to reduce the risk of being abducted. Even young children can learn how to react in certain situations.

Here are some tips you can teach your child.

  • Stay away from strangers.

    Explain what makes a person a stranger. Note that even someone with a familiar face is a stranger if you don't know them well.

  • Stay away from anyone who is following you on foot or in a car.

    Don't get close to them. And don't feel as though you must answer any questions they ask you.

  • Run and scream if someone tries to force you to go somewhere with them or tries to push you into a car.
  • Memorize a secret code word.

    Tell your child not to go with anyone under any circumstances unless that person also knows this code word.

  • You don't need to help an adult.

    Adults shouldn't ask children for help. For example, a child shouldn't trust grown-ups who ask kids for directions or for help finding a puppy or kitten. A child who is approached in this way should tell the person, "Wait here, and I'll check," and then go find their parent or caregiver right away.

  • Always ask for permission before going anywhere with anybody.

    Ask a parent or the grown-up in charge before leaving the yard or play area, or before going into someone's home. Do not accept any unplanned offers for a ride—from someone known or unknown.

  • Tell your parents where you are going.

    Always tell a parent where you're going, how you'll get there, who is going with you, and when you'll be back. Be home at the agreed-upon time, or else find a way to contact home directly.

If your child is lost or missing, being able to provide information quickly to the authorities will save them valuable time in searching for your child:

It's a good idea to have a close-up photograph of your child taken every 6 months and to have your child's fingerprints on record with the police. In the awful event that your child is taken, you can quickly share this critical information with the police.

Credits

Current as of: September 20, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine