Child Abduction in Florida
News about a kidnapped child or teen can worry parents everywhere. But it's important to remember that most kids pass through childhood safely.
The Reality of Child Abductions
Here are some of the realities of child abduction:
Most kids who are reported missing have run away or there has been a misunderstanding with their parents about where they were supposed to be.
Of the kids and teens who are truly abducted, most are taken by a family member or an acquaintance; 25% of kids are taken by strangers.
Almost all kids kidnapped by strangers are taken by men, and about two thirds of stranger abductions involve female children.
Most abducted kids are in their teens.
Kids are rarely abducted from school grounds.
Ways to Prevent Abductions
About 2,100 missing-children reports are filed each day in the U.S. Many cases can be solved more easily when parents can provide key information about their kids, like: height, weight, eye color, and a clear recent photo.
It's also wise to:
Make sure custody documents are in order.
Have ID-like photos taken of your kids every 6 months and have them fingerprinted. Many local police departments sponsor fingerprinting programs.
Keep your kids' medical and dental records up to date.
Make online safety a priority. The Internet is a great tool, but it's also a place for predators to stalk kids. Be aware of your kids' Internet activities and chat room "friends," and remind them never to give out personal information. Avoid posting identifying information or photos of your kids online.
Set boundaries about the places your kids go. Supervise them in places like malls, movie theaters, parks, public bathrooms, or while fundraising door to door.
Never leave kids alone in a car or stroller, even for a minute.
Choose caregivers — babysitters, childcare providers, and nannies — carefully and check their references. If you've arranged for someone to pick up your kids from school or daycare, discuss the arrangements beforehand with your kids and with the school or childcare center.
Avoid dressing your kids in clothing with their names on it — children tend to trust adults who know their names.
Talking to Kids About Strangers
One of the challenges of being a parent is teaching your kids to be cautious without filling them with fear or anxiety. Talk to your kids often about safety, and give them the basics on how to avoid and escape potentially dangerous situations.
If you live near Miami Shores you should consider attending our FREE Child Abduction Prevention Workshop. You can read more about our annual workshop at the link below.