It's such a relief to hear that she was able to get away and that the man has been arrested, but this child's story definitely serves as a strong reminder that there's always the possibility of our own kids being faced with a similar situation.

As frightening as it sounds -- we have to educate them about what to do if a stranger approaches them and/or tries to abduct them, and give them tips for how to prevent it.

  1. Yell and Scream -- This 6-year-old was right to yell and try and get away. Teach your kids to scream, "This person is not my mother or father!" (As a mom, wouldn't that catch your attention and let you know a child was in distress?)
  2. Adults Shouldn't Ask Questions -- Let your kids know that adults who are strangers should not be turning to children to ask questions or to ask for help. They should be asking other adults; otherwise, they might be trying to trick the child into going somewhere with them.
  3. Use a Code Word -- Establish a code word with your children that they can use if an adult they don't know approaches them. If that adult does not know the secret word, he/she is a stranger and your child should not go with them.
  4. Bad Behavior Is OK -- Make sure your child knows that it's acceptable to act out of character if someone is trying to harm them or lure them away. Unruly behavior will catch the attention of other adults who can help.
  5. Safety in Numbers -- Kidnappers are much more likely to go after children who are playing/walking by themselves. Teach your kids to always stay with a group at the park, walking to school, at the bus stop, etc.
  6. Defend Yourself -- We teach our kids up and down all day that fighting is bad, but in the case of someone trying to take them, they need to know that it's ok to hit, kick, punch -- whatever they need to do to try and get away.

What do you teach your kids about stranger safety?