Child Abduction

By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.

Over 800,000 children are reported missing in the United States each year. Child abduction is a tragedy that devastates parents and touches all of us.

The following tips tell you how to keep your children safer:

Following are some suggestions to help parents deal with such issues:

  • Instruct your children never answer the door when they are alone or to say that they are alone on the phone.
  • The children must not invite anyone to the house without express permission asked beforehand.
  • Children must not enter anyone's homes, cars or premises without permission of a parent or caretaker.
  • Child molesters and abductors usually look like everyday people. Tell your kids not to talk to adults they do not know.
  • Children must not accept gifts or candies from strangers before asking a parent or caretaker.
  • Frequently, abductors will befriend a child by asking for help. Some examples are: Asking to help find a lost pet; asking directions to someone's house; offering reward money for assistance; saying Mom or Dad have been hurt or need their help; acting like an undercover police officer (children should only approach uniformed police officers, and/or marked police cars).
  • Make sure that you tell your child to immediately inform you if a stranger is trying to be friendly with them or is constantly looking at them or following them.
  • Tell your children that no one should touch them at places which a bathing suit would cover. If anyone exposes private parts to the child, he/she must tell you, school authority or nearby policeman immediately.
  • Don't let your young child stay alone outside doing activities like bicycle ride or strolling in the park where you cannot keep an eye on him/her. Instruct them not to wander off, to avoid lonely places, and not to take shortcuts through alleys or deserted areas.
  • Teach your children their full names, your full name, address, and telephone number. Teach them how to reach either you or a trusted adult and how
    to call for police assistance.
  • Always accompany your child on door-to-door activities such as Halloween,
    school fund raising campaigns, etc.
  • Teach your children to scream, run away and tell you or a trusted adult if anyone attempts to touch or grab them.
  • Children should never approach a vehicle unless they are positively sure they know the occupants. Abductors lure children to walk near their vehicles and then pull them inside.
  • Don't leave your child unattended in a shopping mall or in a vehicle.

Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center,