Safety Tips for Children & Parents

An analysis by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), shows that approximately 35 percent of attempted abductions of children occurred when the child was going to and from school or school-related activities. Children who escaped abductions successfully used life-saving skills that every child needs to learn and know.

NCMEC recently completed the seven year analysis of more than 7,000 attempted abductions that occurred Feb. 1, 2005 through Jan. 31, 2012. The analysis showed that of the children – mostly girls between the ages of 10 and 14 – who were successful in escaping:

  • 53 percent walked or ran away from the suspect
  • 28 percent yelled, kicked, pulled away or attracted attention
  • 19 percent involved a good Samaritan or parent rescuing the child

“We know that teaching children about safety makes a difference, and we encourage parents and guardians to talk to their children so they know what to do in a real life situation,” said John Ryan, CEO of NCMEC. “Teach your children to recognize and get out of dangerous or uncomfortable situations right away and practice basic safety skills with them.”

Some of the common lures used included providing the child a ride, offering candy/sweets, asking the child questions, offering money or using an animal as a ruse. In 72 percent of the incidents, the suspect was in a vehicle and approximately one-third of the attempted abductions occurred during 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., when children are least likely to be supervised.

What to tell your children to help keep them safe:

  • Strangers are not the only people who can hurt you. The old “stranger danger” concept is outdated — today, safety programs acknowledge that.
  • Before you go anywhere, with anyone, check with the grown-up who is in charge of you. If you cannot check, the answer is NO, you cannot go.
  • Grown-ups can get help from other adults. You do not need to help an adult find a lost puppy, carry items to a car, or unload a truck. If you want to help, check with the grown up in charge of you, first!
  • Know your full name, address (including state), and telephone number with the area code. Know your parents’ or guardians’ names, too.
  • Use the buddy system; go places in groups with friends.
  • If you are separated or lost from your parent or buddy, freeze and yell your parent’s or buddy’s first and last name. Ask a clerk or a parent with children to get help for you, but stay where you are.
  • If anyone tries to grab you or hurt you, scream, kick, fight, and yell, “You’re not my dad (or mom)!”
  • You are in charge of your body. No one has the right to touch you or talk about your body in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable. Say NO forcefully and loudly to help you get away from the situation. Tell a trusted adult.
  • When you are home alone, keep doors locked and closed for everyone. Let the phone ring, use caller ID or the answering machine, or work out a system with your parents so that no one knows you are home alone.
  • Tell an adult if you think that something is wrong or someone could get hurt. It is not snitching – it is responsible reporting!