It seems like everyday there is another story of a child being abducted streaming across the evening news, and for parents this is a chilling reality of the world we live in. Since 1982 over 700,000 children, that’s over 2,000 each day, have been reported missing in the United States. But what can you do to protect your children? We all saw the ATM camera tape showing little Carlie Bruscia being abducted. Sadly she was later found murdered, but cases like these are not the standard norm. Not that it makes parents feel any better about the situation. The fact is, that children are abducted everyday and there are things you can do to protect them.
There are now several products and services available today, as well as methods of protection that you can teach your child in order to protect themselves from being abducted. There are many concerned people working on several ideas and products that will not only shorten the time a child is missing, but also to pinpoint their location faster with the help of authorities. There is even one product that may stop child abduction from happening at all. Everyday new techniques are developed and put to use in education programs and safety training for children.
More often than not, a child will be abducted by someone that is close to them, or by a family member. Divorced and separated parents are some of the worst offenders, but neighbors, grandparents, and other relatives may also pose a threat. Generally the children abducted under these circumstances are struggling with their parent’s bitter custody dispute. It is not unusual for one parent to take the children and flee.
More than 70% of children that are taken by strangers are almost guaranteed murdered after the first three hours, so cutting down the response time greatly helps when recovering a lost or abducted child. One great product that you can try is called The Guardian, and it is made by Child Safe, LLC. The Guardian is a small device that looks like a stop sign or a circle, and attaches to your child’s clothing. Like department store security tags, once the device is placed on the clothing it is not removable. The Guardian is also shock and water resistant so your child could wear it everyday.
If your child is in danger or being abducted all they have to do is push the little button down. When they depress the button it will set off a loud alarm as well as a voice that says “HELP! HELP! HELP! CHILD ABDUCTION! CHILD ABDUCTION! CALL THE POLICE! CALL THE POLICE!” over and over again. Once the button is depressed it cannot be shut off by the perpetrator. Only the police can shut if off by calling Child Safe LLC. The device comes with an instructional DVD and child database registration. The Guardian retails for $39.95 and part of the profits go to a non-profit organization for missing children. With more than 50,000 sold already it seems like The Guardian is a big hit with parents around the country.
Child Shield, USA is one of a few companies that offer recovery of abducted children. For $49.95 every 2 years you will get an “insurance policy” should your child be abducted. Part of your package includes photos and fingerprints, as well as video footage, a $50,000 reward, and will also pay for a private investigator should you need one. Getting Child Shield will help speed up the length of time it takes to find your child should a mishap occur. Remember, the least amount of time, the better.
When it comes to preventing abduction, education is the key. Children need to know about what is going on around them in order to keep them safe. Warn them about strange vehicles near your home or their school, or people that hang around playgrounds and the like. When you say stranger, your child should immediately think danger; “stranger danger” was what I was taught when young. Also, if you are divorced or in the process of getting a divorce do not hide what’s going on from your children. If you have a suspicion that your spouse may take the children, request supervised visits and warn your children about what is and is not allowed when visiting, especially when it comes to trips and car rides.
Here are some tips that will help you protect your child from being abducted:
Ã¢Â?Â¢ If your child walks home from school have a friend walk with them. Never let your child walk to the school, library, post office, or any other place out of your view alone. Send their big brother or sister, or have a babysitter or neighbor kid walk them home. This goes for teens too. Use the buddy system; if they are going somewhere they need a friend.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Start a neighborhood watch. Neighbors can be extremely helpful when it comes to locating abducted children, especially if they are abducted close to home, and many are. My children ride bike through the neighborhood frequently so I just ask the neighbors to keep their eyes open if they see my child. You can also hand out pictures of all the children in the neighborhood so everyone knows what they look like.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Make your children come in at night. This is especially hard on the warm nights of summer, but it must be done. At night, there are more dangers just because it is dark out and you cannot see as well. If my children are playing with the neighbor kids or riding bike, the rule is you have to come in when the sun starts going down. If it’s dark enough for the street lights to come on, then they have to come in.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Know what your child is wearing each time before they leave the house. This one is really simple just give them a quick one-two look over to see what they are wearing. Often times a shoelace, bracelet, or a hat will be found first before anything else and if you recognize it the investigation will not loose speed.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Know the 5 W’s; Who, What, Where, When, and Why. This can be especially hard with teenagers but it is extremely important to know what your children are doing. If you know where and who they are with, and when it may give you clues as to where they might be now, should they become abducted. My teen aged daughter likes to do homework with her friend down the street on some nights, but I never let her walk there. Even though it is only 4 houses down I will bring her there and pick her up, or she can take the car.
Some of the measures and products may seem silly now, but if your child is ever abducted, or even lost or separated from you, you know how much it means to have these tools. When I was younger, my little sister was lost for about 2 hours and all I remember today about it was how unprepared my mother was for the situation. If it wasn’t school picture time I am sure she would not have had a recent photo. The fear of not knowing where your child is is heartbreaking and one of the most terrible things a child and parents can go through.
For more information on protecting your family you can visit the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children at http://www.missingkids.com
You can also have the Parent’s For Megan’s Law visit your local school or venue for a student presentation on abduction. For more info you can call toll free at 1-888-ASK-PFML or locally at 1-631-689-2672. The website can be found at http://www.parentsformeganslaw.com