Most parents’ worst nightmare involves their child being hurt, molested or abducted. But even when faced with the remote possibility that this could happen to their child, most parents still refuse to talk to their child about these subjects for fear of scaring them. Safety experts say this is the wrong approach and all children starting at the age of three should be exposed to some sort of safety training. When age appropriate language and scenarios are utilized, talking about safety does not and should not ever be scary. Thankfully for two families this week, their children knew what to do and saved themselves from being abducted by a stranger.
On Tuesday, February 24th, a Kansas City 12-year-old boy they are calling James and his friend were walking to school. When they were just half a block from his house, a man tried to talk to the boys from across the street. When the boys kept walking and ignored him, the man crossed the street, grabbed James and attempted to drag him off. James responded as he should have by hitting and kicking the man, then he ran screaming back towards his home. His mother, her aunt and neighbors heard the commotion and came outside in time to see the man chasing him. Once the alleged attacker saw the adults, he attempted to run away but James’ neighbors chased him, caught him and held him down until police arrived.
Lt. Kelli Bailiff from the Kansas City police department had this to say about James.
“James’s story ended just how it’s supposed to. His actions were exemplary. As soon as someone grabs them, that’s when the fight is on. We want them to kick, scream, hit and bite. Do whatever it takes and as soon as they’re able to break from that grasp, then they need to run until they find a trusted adult which is exactly what happened in this case. I’m so proud of that young man.”
The day before, in Spring Township, Pennsylvania, an 11-year-old girl had to fight off an attempted abduction near her elementary school. The alleged abductor in this case fits the description of a man suspected of attempted abductions in 3 other recent cases in the Spring Township area. Police are warning parents to be more vigilant and arrange their schedules to try and transport their kids to school.
For more information on how you can prepare your child to stay safe, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has safety brochures and for younger kids, Military Veterans Against Child Abuse has a program and books that covers safety topics from A to Z in a fun, non-scary way.