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Preventing Abductions


Whenever the evening news brings the story of a kidnapped child or teen, the terrifying prospect of abduction fills the minds of parents everywhere. But it's important to remember that most kids pass through childhood safely.

One of the challenges of being a parent is teaching your kids to be cautious without filling them with fear or anxiety. Although some dangers do exist, you lessen the chances that your child will be abducted.

The Reality of Child Abductions

The circumstances surrounding child abduction are often quite different from the way they're shown in TV shows and movies.

Here are some of the realities of child abduction:

Strategies for Preventing Abductions

About 2,100 missing-children reports are filed each day in the U.S. Many cases might be solved more easily if parents can provide a few key pieces of information about their kids, like: height, weight, eye color, and a clear recent photo. And make sure your kids have the safety information that could help prevent an abduction.

These strategies may help:

Talking to Kids About Strangers

Talk to your kids often about safety. Give them the basics on how to avoid and escape potentially dangerous situations. Teach them to:

Keep these other tips in mind, too:

If Your Child Is Abducted

Because the first few hours are the most critical in missing-child cases, it's important to provide officials with information about your child immediately.

If your child has been abducted, contact local law enforcement right away. They'll ask you for a recent picture of your child and will probably ask you many questions about the time and location you last saw your child and what your child was wearing.

You may also request that your child be entered into National Crime and Information Center (NCIC). Other clearinghouses such as the Child Protection Education of America ([866] USA-CHILD) and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children ([800] 843-5678) can offer information and support during your search.

After notifying the authorities, try to stay calm. You'll be able to remember details about your child's disappearance more easily if you remain rational and logical.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: January 2013


Note: All information on KidsHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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