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Front Page » March 25, 2004 » Local News » Educating children curbs risk of falling victim to abduction
Published 4,219 days ago

Educating children curbs risk of falling victim to abduction

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Sun Advocate reporter

Warming weather has Carbon County children of all ages excited.

In fact, local neighborhoods can be found lined with youth participating in outdoor activities.

Although many parents may be eager to have youngsters outdoors, the risk of a child being kidnapped greatly increases.

However, through education and preparation, local residents can ensure that children do not fall victim to abduction.

Many parents worry that they will frighten children by discussing the danger of strangers. Experts stress that giving into the concern is the biggest mistake a parent can make.

In fact, by arming children with information, Carbon County adults can ensure that children will know what to do if a situation comes up which is dangerous or threatening.

According to a study conducted in 2000 by the United States Department of Justice, an estimated 797,500 children were reported missing.

The U.S. Department of Justice report also indicated that 58,200 of the missing children were taken by non-family members

Therefore, it is extremely important to communicate with children regarding kidnapping and strangers.

Experts recommend that parents talk to their children on a regular basis about the dangers of talking to strangers.

It is never too early to make a child aware of situations that may turn into a serious problem.

Precautions that child safety experts recommend Carbon County parents and guardians follow include:

•Teach children that most people are good guys. But sometimes, bad guys act nice.

Explain to youngsters that it is often difficult to determine who is a good guy and who is not.

If children is unsure whether a person is good or bad, emphasize the importance of asking an adult immediately before going anywhere with the unknown party.

•Explain that strangers should never ask a child for help. It is not a child's job to help an unknown person.

If a stranger asks for help, the youth should say no and tell a trusting adult right away.

•Make children aware of the adults they can trust. Frequently recite a list of responsible adults youngsters can count on if a serious problem comes about.

Frequently, parents come up with clever words that only the child and a close family member or friend will know in the event an emergency occurs.

If a person does not recite the correct word, advise the child to seek help from a responsible adult immediately.

•Children encountering situations that require interaction with stranger may become confused, warns safety experts.

For example, youngsters may get lost at a store. They will then have to ask an adult for assistance.

Experts advise parents to instruct children not to wander around or away from adult supervision.

But in the event youngsters need to get help, parents should make sure that youth know to ask store employees for assistance.

•Role play various situations.

Pretend to be a stranger and see how the child reacts. Instruct youth on how to react properly in similar situations.

•Inform children that they should never take anything from a stranger.

Emphasize the importance of never accepting a ride with strangers.

Also, parents and guardians should make sure that youngsters do not give out addresses or telephone numbers to a stranger.

Safety experts remind local residents to not be overly concerned that teaching children about the precautionary practices will scare the youth. Children already know there are bad guys who could harm them.

Even though it is every parent's nightmare, child abduction occurs quite frequently and could happen to anyone. That is why it is so important to keep records current on all children.

It is recommended that parents or guardians take a photo of each child in the household once a month.

The practice will keep records current and the photographs will become a critical aid in the search for a missing child.

Along with the recommended information, the national center suggests that complete descriptions of each child should be kept by parents and guardians.

The detailed descriptions should include all physical characteristics of the youngster along with identifying information such as birth marks and braces.

The U.S. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children also recommends that youngsters be fingerprinted and advises parents to store the information in a safe and secure location.

Many law enforcement agencies along with insurance companies offer fingerprinting services to the public.

It is crucially important that the information be prepared and easily accessible in case an emergency occurs.

Time is of the essence in abduction cases. If the information is already compiled, the search for a missing child may begin quickly and will assist law enforcement agencies in the case.

The most important reminder that child safety experts give to Carbon County residents is that there is no substitute for adult supervision and education is the best tool parents or guardians have in fighting crimes involving the abduction of youngsters.

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March 25, 2004
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