Do you know that asking for directions is one of the top five lures used by child predators in attempted abductions? Most victims of kidnappings and non-family abductions involve children between the ages of 10 and 14 and most occur within a quarter mile of the victim’s home; 68 percent involve a suspect driving a vehicle. While we hope that our children will be helpful to those in need, helping adults with directions is NOT something we want our children to do.
As springtime approaches and children spend more time outdoors, be sure your grandchildren have heard these words from you: “Never go near anyone you don’t know in a vehicle and never help an adult seeking directions or asking for help of any kind.” Adults should not be asking children for help — period! What should a child do if they feel they are being followed by someone in a vehicle? Turn the other way and run. Run to the nearest safe place and call 911.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and a good time to remind your grandchildren to always have a buddy with them, especially when walking to and from school or while standing at a bus stop. As the sun goes down, stay in well-lit areas, avoid isolated areas and NEVER take shortcuts. If in danger, kick, scream, yell and attract as much attention as possible. Alert law enforcement of any incident even if you got away unharmed. Simple, easy-to-learn rules do work, so make sure to have this conversation with your grandchild.
Brenda Zofrea, M.A.Ed., is the author of Let’s B Safe for children 3 and up. Visit letsbsafe.com for contact information or to purchase Let’s B Safe.