Although child abductions by strangers are rare, parents need to take the responsibility to speak with their children about who is a stranger and how the children should respond if confronted.
- Know where your children are and who they are with.
- Know the names (both children and their parents), addresses and phone numbers of your children's friends.
- Discuss with your child how to react if approached by a stranger, what to do and who to contact.
- Put children's names only on the insides of clothing, books, etc. Know what your child is wearing every day.
- Instruct children to be polite but not to talk with strangers or tell them their name, address, etc.
- Let your children know that it is okay for them to run away from strangers, scream etc., if they feel threatened.
- Encourage children to talk with you and tell you what happened. Do not get mad at them for doing something inappropriate but explain to them what could happen and how they should handle the situation next time. Make a game of planning what to do in different situations before something happens.
- Make sure children know your full name and theirs, your address and full telephone number, and how to make calls. Explain how to use 911 for emergencies.
- Keep up-to-date files on your children, including a recent photo and complete physical description, medical/ dental records, and fingerprints.
- Discuss ahead of time what to do in case you become separated while shopping, traveling etc.
- Encourage children to travel with siblings and friends and not to walk alone. Pick up your children rather than have them walk alone.
- Choose a secret code word to use with your children in case of an emergency. Tell them never to go with anyone who does not know the code word.
- Notify the Sheriff's Office immediately. After contacting the Sheriff's Department, remain where you are until a deputy arrives. Be prepared to tell where your child was last seen, give a complete description including clothing and any reasons your child may be missing.
- Thoroughly check the area where the child was last seen. Call the child's name out loud frequently.
- Check with your child's friends.
- Check favorite play areas.
- Check parks, construction sites, or areas that may attract the interest of your child.
- When looking for a child, try to have someone wait at home in case the child returns while you are gone.
- If your child has not returned home from school, call the school and the bus company to see if your child got on the bus.