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Protecting Children from Abduction

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If you think it can't happen to your kid, listen up! 1 in 42 children will become lost, missing, kidnapped or run away this year.

While stranger abduction is relatively rare, it still happens. Most abductions are perpetrated by some-one the child knows. Knowing the top 10 lure techniques (as identified by the FBI) that are used by child predators will better prepare you to talk openly to your children and teach them what key phrases to look for and how to stay safe.

10 Top Lures Used by Child Predators

1. The Helpless Lure - This is the person who needs help carrying boxes to his car, or to find a lost dog, or lost child.

Prevention: Tell children that adults don't ask kids for help in any way. Adults should ask Adults for help or directions or whatever they want.

2. The Promise Lure - This is when the predator promises to take the child to Mommy or Daddy. Or perhaps promises a surprise or candy in the car.

Prevention: Tell children that they are NEVER to go with anyone unless Mom or Dad has instructed them to.

3. The Gift Giving Lure - This is the predator who gives the child candy, toys, money or other gifts.

Prevention: Tell children NEVER to accept gifts from anyone unless you've received permission from Mom or Dad. This includes money from Grandpa (especially when the child is told to keep it secret).
Tell children that we don't keep secrets in our family.

4. The Messenger - This is the predator who tells the child that "Mommy was in a car accident" and the child is to go with them. Or "Your Mom called and asked me to pick you up today."

Prevention: Tell children the names of the people you have entrusted as emergency back ups. Remind them NEVER to go with anyone unless Mom or Dad instructs them to.

5. The Leader (Authority Figure) - This is the policeman, priest, teacher or other authority figure who uses their position and suggested authority to win the child's trust.

Prevention: Tell children not to go with anyone no matter what they are wearing or who they are, even if it means that they might get into trouble. (Many authority figures tell kids they will be in trouble, or threaten to hurt Mom and Dad if the child doesn't cooperate).

6. Friendly Lure - This is the nice friendly predator who engages the child in conversation.

Prevention: Teach children not to talk to any adults they don't know unless their parent is with them.

7. Playing Games - This is the predator who plays "touching games" and makes the child promise not to tell. Or other 'games' that the child feels uncomfortable with.

Prevention: Teach children to listen to their instincts. If something makes them feel funny in their stomachs, they are to stop, run and tell.

8. "Too Cool" - This is the person who the child looks up to as cool. Perhaps a friend's older sibling, or a relative or a neighbor who has the latest video games.

Prevention: Teach children to listen to their instincts. If someone asks them to do something they know is wrong or feels funny, teach them to stop, run and tell.

9. The Magician Lure - This is the predator who seemingly magically knows the child's name or other information about the child.

Prevention: Don't put nametags on the outside of your children's clothing, books, book bags, etc.

10. The Power Predator - This is the scary predator who just grabs the child off his/her bike and throws them into the car.

Prevention: This is the only time a child should fight, scream, kick, bite. Tell children that if they are on their bikes and someone tries to take them off, they should hold the bike as hard as they can while screaming "You're not my Mom/Dad!"

school girlA few more essentials:

Make sure your child knows his or her complete name, address and telephone number with area code. It seems like a lot to remember, but this is one of the most important child safety tips.

Show your child how to dial 911. Most cities send the police whether or not a request is made, so let your child know this is for emergencies only, and not a game.

Establish a code word for situations when your child is to be picked up by someone other than a parent or regular caregiver. Predators have tricked kids into telling the code word, so remind your child never to tell anyone.

Teach your child that if it feels weird it probably is, and regularly remind the child that he or she can talk to you about anything.

Don't lose sight of your child in public places, especially when very crowded.

Remind your child that if he or she is lost to find a store clerk or police officer and wait with that person until you or the police arrive. The child shouldn't go with someone who offers to take him or her to you unless it is a uniformed officer.

Don't forget that child predators look like regular folks.

If you must leave your child at home alone, remind the child to never open the door for anyone that you have not approved.

Teach your child to always walk with someone.

If your child is in a dangerous situation, he or she should yell for help ("this is not my Mom/Dad") and run to a trusted adult. The child should know to never to run into an uninhabited area.

It is important for families to talk about child safety. Keep an open dialogue, and take the time to give situational quizzes about all safety issues. You can keep this light and fun without scaring your child by mixing up questions like:

"What would you do if you woke up and smelled smoke?" followed by
"What would you do if someone pulled up in a car and asked you for directions?"

Related Articles:
School Bus Safety
Starting School

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Protecting Children from Abduction & Predators