How to protect against child abduction!


It's a sad fact that thousands of children are reported missing each year. Know how to protect your children against abduction by strangers.

What YOU should do:

  • Know your child's whereabouts at all times.

  • At a very early age, teach your child their name, address and telephone number and your first and last name.

  • Teach them how to call 9-1-1 for help. When using the telephone for these lessons, make sure the call to 9-1-1 doesn't actually connect.

  • Make sure children know how to make local and long distance telephone calls.

  • Never leave children alone in a car, not even for a few seconds.

  • Establish strict procedures for picking up children at school, after movies, at friends' homes, etc.

  • Establish a family code word that only you, your child and a trusted relative or friend knows. Teach your child to ask for the code word when approached by someone offering them a ride.

  • Remind your children to never accept a ride from someone you don't know, even if the child knows them.

  • Talk to your children about child abduction in a simple, non-threatening way.

  • Listen to your child when he or she discusses anyone they have met or spoken with when you weren't around.

  • Have photographs taken of your children at least four times a year (especially for preschoolers). Make note of birthmarks or other distinguishing features.

  • Have your child fingerprinted and store the prints in a safe, easily accessible place in your home.

Teach your children to:

  • never leave home without your permission. Very small children should play only in areas away from the street, such as a backyard, or in a play area supervised by a responsible adult.

  • never wander off, to avoid lonely places, and to avoid shortcuts through alleys or deserted areas. They are safer walking or playing with friends.

  • come straight home from school unless you have made other arrangements.

  • never enter anyone's home without your approval.

  • scream, run away and tell you or a trusted adult if anyone attempts to touch or grab them, of if a stranger offers them a ride.

  • never give any information over the telephone including their name and address, or indicate they are alone.

  • keep doors locked and admit only authorized people into the house.

Rules for baby-sitters:

  • Leave a number where you, a neighbor or relative can be reached in the event of an emergency. In addition, if you have a cell phone, give the sitter that number and carry your phone with you while you're out. Make sure the battery is fully charged before you leave.

  • Never allow the sitter to admit strangers into your home. The best rule: no company allowed.

  • Instruct the sitter that phone use is for emergencies only, not for chatting with friends.

  • Leave the number for your local law enforcement agency and tell the sitter to call immediately if there are any signs of suspicious activity or unusual noises.