How Can I Help Prevent My Child From
abductions, although a rare occurrence, have left many
parents frightened and unsure about how best to protect
their children. According to a study conducted for the
U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice
and Delinquency Prevention, in 57% of the cases, the
victims of child-abduction murder are victims of
opportunity. As parents search for ways to keep their
children safer, it is worth noting that reducing the
opportunities for abduction will help prevent those
occurrences. The rules that many of us lived by in our
childhood no longer apply in today’s world. Parents
should know where their children are at all times, whom
their children are with, and not let their children go
openly answer their children’s questions about their
safety. Parents should also look for opportunities to
include their children in their safety plan, according
to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
(NCMEC). Parents can practice “what-if” scenarios with
their children, and they can include them in securing
their home. These steps will help empower the child and
reinforce the safety message.
These tips from the
NCMEC will help parents lessen the opportunity for
abduction and kidnapping and better safeguard their
1. Teach your
children to run away from danger, never toward it.
Danger is anyone or anything that invades their personal
space. Teach them to yell loudly. Their safety is more
important than being polite. Teach your children that if
they are ever followed in a car to turn around and run
in the other direction to you or another trusted adult.
2. Never let
your children go places alone,
and always supervise your young children or make sure
there is a trusted adult present to supervise them if
you cannot. Make sure your older children always take a
friend when they go somewhere.
3. Know where
your children are and whom they are with at all times.
Remind children never to take anything or respond
in any way if approached by someone they don’t
know. Teach them to run away as quickly as they can to
you or another trusted adult.
openly to your children about safety and encourage them
to tell you or another trusted adult if anyone or
anything makes them feel frightened, confused, or
security issues with your children so that they will
understand the need for precautions. Advise your older
children about steps they can take to help safeguard
themselves. Know your children’s friends and their
families. Pay attention to your children and listen to
them. If you don’t, there’s always someone else who
what you teach by
creating “what-if” scenarios with your children to make
sure they understand the safety message and can use it
in a real situation.
installing an alarm system in your home
with a monitoring feature. Make sure your home is
secured with deadbolt locks, and ensure that landscaping
around it doesn’t provide places for people to hide.
Check other access points, such as gates, and make sure
they have been secured. Consider installing exterior
lighting around your home. Make sure that your home is
fully secured before you go to sleep, with items such as
ladders, stored inside. Have a plan if an intruder tries
to or gets into your home, just as you would in case of
7. Make your
children part of securing your home.
If you have installed an alarm system, demonstrate it to
your children, and show them how to make certain that
doors and windows are locked. This will not only help
calm their fears, but will also help make them part of
your “safety plan” at home.
8. Have a
list of family members who could be contacted in case of
Designate a family member or close associate who would
be able to fill the role of advisor in case of an
9. Be alert
to and aware of your surroundings.
Know the “escape routes” and plan what you would do in
different emergencies. Practice “what-if” scenarios, so
you will be well-prepared. Know how to reach the nearest
local law enforcement agency or substation.
10. Know your
co-workers and employees.
Do background screening and reference checks on everyone
who works at your home, particularly anyone who cares
for your children. Their knowledge of your family is
extensive, so make sure that you have an equivalent
understanding of them.
steps to secure personal information about yourself.
Be discreet about your possessions and your family’s
any suspicious persons or activities to law enforcement.
If you feel that you or your children have been targeted
or are being stalked, immediately report this
information to law enforcement authorities. Do not
that you are your best resource for safeguarding your
family. Do not become
complacent about personal security issues