Protecting Your Child From Abduction

It only takes 100 seconds to read the information here. Isn't it worth 100 seconds to keep your child safe from abduction?

Thousands of children will be reported missing in this country this year. You will see their pictures on shopping bags, milk cartons, bus and subway posters, and television. Some will be found and returned home. Some will not.

Child abduction is a tragedy. It devastates the parents. It touches all of us. Please carefully read these ways to help keep your children safe!

You Should

  • Know where your children are at all times.
  • Never leave children alone in cars.
  • Establish strict procedures for picking your children up at school, at a friend's, after a movie, etc. Do not let your children accept rides from people with whom you have not made previous arrangements - even if they say they are a police officer, teacher, or friend of the family.
  • Establish a family code word. Tell your children never to go with anyone who does not know the code word.
  • 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.
  • Make sure they know how to make local and long distance telephone calls. Even a small child can be taught to dial 911 or O for "Operator" for help.
  • Tell your children about the abduction problem in a calm and simple way as if you were teaching any other important coping skill.
  • Listen attentively if your children talk about anyone they encounter in your absence.
  • Have photographs of your children taken four times a year (especially for pre-schoolers).
  • Make a note of birthmarks and other distinguishing features.
  • Have fingerprints taken of your children. Most local law enforcement agencies have child fingerprint programs.

Teach Your Children

  • Never to leave the yard without your permission. Very small children should play only in the backyard or in a supervised play area.
  • Not to wander off, to avoid lonely places, and not to take shortcuts through alleys or deserted areas.
  • They are safer walking or playing with friends.
  • Always to come straight home from school unless you have made other arrangements.
  • Never enter anyone's home without your prior approval. Exception: A Block Parent.
  • To scream, run away, and tell you or a trusted adult if anyone attempts to touch or grab them.
  • Not to give out any information on the telephone, particularly their name and address, or that they are alone.
  • Never to go anywhere with anyone who does not know the family code word.
  • To keep all door locked and only admit authorized people into the house. No one else should be permitted to enter.
  • To memorize their full names and address, including city and state.
  • To memorize their telephone number, including area code.
  • To use both push button and dial telephones to make emergency, local, and long distance calls, and how to reach the Operator.
  • To always check in with you or a neighbor immediately after arriving home.
  • Never to go into your home if a door is open or a window is broken.
  • How to work door and window locks.
  • How to get out of the home quickly in case of fire.
  • How to answer the doorbell and telephone when they are home alone.
  • Never go anywhere with another adult unless you have made arrangements ahead of time.
  • Adopt a family code word to use if you have to ask a third party to pick up your children.
  • That a stranger is someone neither you nor they know well.
  • To run to the nearest public place, neighbor, or safe house if they feel they are being followed.
  • To tell you if anyone asks them to keep a secret, offers them gifts or money, or asks to take their picture.
  • To always tell you if something happened while they were away from you that made them feel uncomfortable.