Child abduction is a growing concern in Canada, so it's good to know there are simple precautions you can take to help safeguard your children. The help you can offer a young child is somewhat different from what is useful for an older child. Here are some suggestions:
Young Children Should:
- Never say they are alone if they answer the phone - they can offer to take a message or say their parents are busy but will phone back.
- Never answer the door if they are alone
- Not invite anyone into the house without the permission of a parent or babysitter
- Not go to a friend's house without letting anyone know where they are
- Not go into people's houses that they don't know without a parent or babysitter
- Never get into anyone's car without permission from their parents
- Not take candy or other gifts from strangers or anyone else without asking a parent first for permission
- Never play in deserted buildings or isolated areas
- Scream and scatter books and belongings if they are forced towards a building or a car
- Move away from a car that pulls up beside them
- Know their telephone number and address
- Know that it's all right to say "No" to an adult or anyone else if the person wants them to do something you've taught them is wrong.
- Go to the nearest cashier or other worker if lost or separated from you in a store or mall
Older Children/Teens Should:
- Tell you where they are at all times or leave a written or recorded message at home.
- Never hitchhike anywhere they are trying to go
- Avoid shortcuts through empty parks, fields, laneways or alleyways
- Run home or go to the nearest public place and yell for help if they are being followed
- Learn to recognize suspicious behaviour and remember a description of the person or vehicle to give a parent or the police. Write the plate number in the dirt or snow if nothing else is available.
- If attacked for money, jewellery or clothing, give it up rather than risk injury.
- Feel that they can talk to their parents and to be able to call a parent to pick them up at any time any place
- Avoid clothing and toys with your child's name on it. A child is less likely to fear someone who knows his/her name and may not realize that's where the person has learned it from
- Check all potential babysitters and older friends of your child
- Never leave your child alone in a public place, stroller or car, not even for a minute
- Always accompany young children to the bathroom in a public place and advise them never to play in or around the area
- Always accompany your child on door-to-door activities such as Halloween, school fund-raising campaigns etc)
- Point out safe houses or homes with the "Block Parent" sign where children can go if they are in trouble