Can Child Abduction Be Prevented?
Life tragedies are common and affect both adults and children. Abduction is one of the dangers children are most exposed to because of their vulnerability. It is not entirely preventable, but there are ways to reduce the risk by teaching your children good practices.
What to teach your children
The most horrific acts of child abduction are committed by strangers. They may be a complete stranger or a member of the child’s entourage. Reducing your child’s risk of abduction depends on the education and information you provide to your child. It would be best if you taught your children to:
- Never talk to an unknown person in your absence
- Never follow an unknown person
- Never accept gifts from a stranger
- Always call you when approached by a stranger
Implement a self-defense protocol previously learned.
It is vital to make it clear to your child that a stranger is anyone you have not personally introduced to them. They should not trust anyone they meet in your neighborhood until they are introduced to them by a family member.
The most commonly used procedures
In the United States, a study conducted by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children found the 3 most common methods used by kidnappers. These are:
- A proposal to drive home or to an injured parent
- A gift of sweets, money, or a small animal (kitten, puppy, etc.)
- A request for help to find a path or a lost animal
These are simple precautions but effective in protecting your child. They increase the chance of seeing your child after school, after training, after a children’s show, after the park. These places are the most targeted by kidnappers.
Supervision of children
Preventing or reducing the risk of child abduction is not only the responsibility of the children themselves, but it starts and depends exclusively on the parents. It is your responsibility to ensure your child’s safety at all times. The guidelines established by the Missing Child Prevention Centers vary depending on your child’s age and maturity level.
For a child between the ages of 4 and 6
At this age, the child is developing curiosity, so you should never take your eyes off your child. This is even more important when you are away from home. Supervision must be direct and continuous. Before this age, the attitude is the same, and you must clearly specify the persons authorized to pick up your child at the daycare center.
For a child between 6 and 14 years old
Your child is already riding a bike, walking alone, going to a children’s show, school, the park, a friend’s house. These places are notorious for being a favorite target for kidnappers. Teach your child to text you when they arrive at their destination and when they will be leaving for home.
You should already be giving him all the tips mentioned above. You also need to set up a recognition mechanism. For example, you can have a password that a stranger who claims to know the child will have to say to him. If they don’t, they have to yell for help even if they say they have a family connection.
For teenagers around 16 years old
Children spend most of their time communicating through social networks at this age. They also have parties at friends’ houses and in party places where there are alcoholic drinks and drugs in abundance. Your child should not meet a stranger they meet online in a secluded area. They should also watch what they consume at parties with friends.
If you, a loved one, or someone you know have had their kids abducted, then after reporting your child missing to law enforcement, call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678). Sound off in the comments section below and tell us what you want to read next.