Keep Your Child Safe
Tips To Avoid Abductions
A number of cases involving young girls missing and found dead has placed new emphasis on child safety. Polic on Wednesday said that the body found in Southern California was that of kidnapped 5 year old Samantha Runnion. The girl was kidnapped on Monday in front of her home. Meanwhile authorities and family members continue to search for Elizabeth Smart, a 14 year old who was kidnapped from her Utah home early last month. The cases underscore the need for parents to teach children how to avoid being seized and to learn escape methods if they are. Bob Studer a former police officer and founder of the Escape School said that even very young children might learn to resist and escape an abductor. Children are very young and trusting. And this is something that parents really need to get down on and start driving the message home, is that you don't walk away with anybody. And if they need help, they will get it from another adult. Children can use various techniques to avoid being in the car of a stranger. All the way in a crime like this, there are these little windows of opportunity and if the child knows what to watch for, it really only takes about two of these choices to get them out of danger. Techniques a child can use to get out of a car. If somebody is bigger and stronger than the child, the child rotates his or her arm forward in a big circle, preventing the would be attacker from grabbing hold. Turning her or his hand inside out puts the attacker in a position where he is the weakest. A third technique involves using a bicyclee. If a would be predator attempts to grab a child off a bike, the child can hug the bicycle making the kidnapping more difficult, if not impossible. The first thing a child needs to do is open the door and get out. Children need to make a lot of noise at the very beginning of the process. If its a 4 door car, the child can jump into the back seat and go out the back door quickly. The kidnapper might threaten a child but he's not going to hurt the child right there. That's not what this is about. That takes place later. Another technique, for a child inside the car, is to place an object in the ignition cylinder, where the key goes in. It can be a stick, anything. Bubble gum even works. Once the child does this, the predator can't get the key back in. If they key won't start the car, this isn't going to go any further and that's the key to the whole thing---stopping it. If a child is placed in a trunk, all the child needs do is disconnect the taillights by finding a panel in the back corner of just about every car. Anybody can pull that panel off. Inside are the wires. If the wires are pulled, it disconnects the brake and tail lights. Now the ods are increased by 60 percent that the police will pull the car over because it has no brake or tail lights, then the child screams for attention. Simple actions such as blowing a whistle are among the strongest deterrents. Its all about common sense. Its all about taking advantage of little opportunities as they present themselves. And it isn't very hard for a child to do.
And How to keep your child safe. With the country on edge after a spate of high profile kidnappings, anything can help. Its every parents worst nightmare: a child is snatched from the playground in broad daylight never to be seen or heard from again. And it feels like its happening all the time. But while it may seem like we are in the kidst of a kidnapping epidemic, the truth is much less scarry. Each year between 300 or 400 kids are taken in stereotypical kidnappings (i.e. grabbed from their homes or playgrounds and then murdered or held for ransom) and 100 to 200 are murdered. Officials expect this year's total number to dip to nearly 100, hopefully dragging down the murder rate. And despite what you might reasonably think after hearing the terrible stories of Elizabeth Smart and Samantha Runnion, the specter of kidnapping by strangers should not be a parents' primary concern; parents themselves perpettrate more than 98 percent of all kidnappings. While about 700,000 missing children reports were filed in 2001, only a tiny percentage of those cases were non-family abductions. And here's one piece of positive news: 94 percent of kidnapped children are returned to their parents. Its our jobs to educate our children and urge parents to be alert without giving in to fear. We need to be prepared, to think about every eventuality, but we don't want to dwell on the worst that could happen. We don't want to terrfy our kids or leave ourselves paralyzed with fear.
Always know where your kids are, especially your children.
Don't let them go out alone, for there is safety in numbers.
Know who they are with.
Speak openly with them about their safety.
Practice what you talk about, go over scenarios and ask your kids what they would do.
Kids have the right to say no. If a grown-up comes to a child asking for help looking for a puppy or for directions, th child should get a trusted adult to help instead. Kids don't have to be polite. We put a huge premium on making sure are kids are polite to a fault, especially to adults, and that translates into "do what the man says." Communicate. If a child feels frighteneed, they should be encouraged to talk with a trusted person: mom, dad, counselor or teacher. The message for parents? Listen to your kids. Here are some facts about non-family abductors: They tend to be male, and despite the dirty old man tag, most are younger than 35 and of average or above average intelligence. In an overwhelming number of cases, their motives are sexual. Most are not true strangers to the children they take; they target one child and seek their confidence, often by developing a casual relationship with them. Keep the lines of communication open and establish an atmosphere in your home that encourages kids to talk to you about what's going on in their lives. Teach your children your telephone number and area code, teach them how to contact you or close friends. Tell them you love them and that you always want to see them, no matter what anybody else tells them. Most family--member abductions happen only after the offender has talked about taking a child, so its important to pay attention to what you consider threats. If you identify a family member who talks about taking a child, collect and keep pertinent informtion (social security numbers, credit cards, etc. )about them on hand. Address the legal issues: have a valid custody ordere, don't just assume anything. And finally, one last piece of advice for all parents, courtesy of the NCMEC: take lots of pictures of your kids. Photos work when it comes to finding children, and its very important for amilies to have recent, full-face photos of their children, as well as accurate informaion about their hair color, weight, height, and any distinguishing physical characteristics. Parents may also want to keep dental and medical records on hand in a safe place. This can speed up the process, and this is a situation where every hour counts. Seventy-Five percent of abducted children who are murdered are killed within the first three hours of their kidnapping.
|COBRA MISSING CHILDREN NETWORK