How to keep your children safe from predators isn’t the happiest of topics. However, this world is full of predators and people looking to kidnap children for various reasons. Most days, we don’t think about it. But, it is a terrifying thought when we do. A few years ago, we shared a video about just how easily a child abduction can happen featuring children whose parents thought they knew the importance of stranger danger. It was an eye-opener.
To help decrease the risk of kidnapping, here are some tips on ways to help your children prepare and be more aware of their surroundings.
According to the NCIC Missing Person and Unidentified Person Statistics results from 2020:
- 543,028 kidnappings occurred last year
- Approximately 67% of those kidnapped were children under the age of 17
In most cases, when a child is kidnapped, it is by someone they already know. There are, however, many cases where someone tries to abduct a child they do not know. And they will sometimes get away with it, which is truly tragic.
Ditch the Personalized Items
You know those all so cute and personalized things your child carries around? The backpacks, the jewelry, the lunch bags, and anything else that might be blaring your child’s name for the world to see?
Throw it out, sell it, burn it, or plain old, don’t buy it in the first place.
Sharing your child’s name so publicly makes it easier for a predator to make a quick connection with them. When a stranger addresses your child by name, they’re much more likely to trust them, which spells danger.
Imagine if, as your child walks home from school, a stranger pulls up and says, “Sally? I work with your mom. She got hurt at work and is at the hospital – she asked me to pick you up.” If that stranger already knows their name, it’s much more likely your child will believe the stranger.
Make up a code word for you to use
Having a code word can help in many ways and give your child street smarts. There are several instances where a code word can be vital and could make or break a situation. Pick a word or phrase that isn’t super out of place but still stands out enough.
When would you use it?
Well, remember the last scene where the stranger claimed to be there on the mother’s behalf because she’s in the hospital? Let’s say that’s true. Or someone else is unexpectedly picking up your child from school. If you have a code word that you and your child both know, you can set it up in advance. The “stranger” can give your child that code word, and your child will know they are a safe person and can be trusted. The key with this one is that it has to be a secret and not commonly known.
Have a code word for your child to use
Having a code word your child can use in certain situations is another way this comes in handy. For example, your child is at a friend’s house, and something happens. Your child doesn’t feel safe anymore, be it a threat, an advance, or anything else. If they want to come home but don’t want to draw attention, have a codeword or phrase your child can say. The instant your child says it, you know something is wrong.
The codeword or phrase could be the name of a candy bar, to something more obscure like red leggings. Your child could say, “Can we get a Twix bar from the store when we go shopping tomorrow?” or “Can you make sure to wash my red leggings tonight?” Make it something subtle, but something neither will forget.
Find a mom with kids
While most children know a police officer will keep them safe from kidnapping, they aren’t always around. Teach your child when they’re feeling unsafe or lost to seek out a mom with children. Mom’s are everywhere, and in most cases, they will protect your child or get help. Plus, if your child looks like they’re with a parent or adult, they are less likely to get taken.
Teach them to scream and put up a fight
We often tell our kids to behave. We don’t want them acting out in public, having a temper tantrum, or make a scene. Heck, most adults will ignore your typical temper tantrum at the local park. Or anywhere else, for that matter.
But, a child screaming? Screaming at the top of their lungs isn’t normal. Teach your kids to make as big of a scene as possible. Kick, scream, hit, bite. In short, tell your child to do everything they can to draw attention to themselves. Not only will this make other people stop and take note, but it will also, hopefully, change the kidnapper’s mind. With everyone watching, it’s likely the kidnapper will run away.
Never Keep “Body Secrets”
Teach your kids early that “body secrets” are not okay. Have them know from an early age if someone tells them to keep a secret involving any body part to tell you immediately. If any adult is trying to have your child keep something secret about their body, it’s for no good reason.
It’s important they also know which parts of their bodies should stay covered and private. An easy way to explain this is by calling it “swimsuit areas.” That is not to make them feel ashamed or embarrassed of their bodies. It is so they know those parts should not be seen and touched by strangers.
Teach older kids to be resistant to manipulation.
As horrible as the Jeffrey Epstein case was, we learned a lot about the way predators manipulate older kids into sexual situations. You can read some of their tactics in this article.
There is so much more you can do
Along with helping your child stay safe and out of harm’s way you can also teach them invaluable skills like prepping and survival skills. The Organic Prepper has published articles on how to do just that. Here’s one from Graywolf: Teach Your Children Prepping and Survival Skills in a Way They’ll Love. Daisy wrote this one on Raising Competent Kids in An Incompetent World. Playing Kim’s Game can help your children become more situationally aware. Be sure to talk to your kids about safety and preparedness in a way that doesn’t scare them.
I hope you have found these tips to help keep your children safe from predators beneficial. There are endless amounts of other things that you can do to help them and other children. Teach your kids to go with their gut. If something feels wrong about a situation, it often is. It’s better safe than sorry.
Do you have other tips on keeping your children safe in these dangerous times? What do you teach your kids? Share your ideas and thoughts with other readers in the comments below.