How kids should keep safe from predators

April 2, 2008

Preschoolers, school age kids, and teenagers need protection from predators.

Key Points

A parent's worst nightmare is to have their child abducted, especially by a stranger. Yet a child is far more likely to be abducted by a family member (typically during a custody dispute), an acquaintance, or even a "friend" than by someone he or she doesn't know. Fortunately, kidnappings of any sort are quite uncommon. But their consequences can be so terrible-sexual assault and even death-that you surely want to do all you can to protect your child. The table below describes how to make your child a difficult target for kidnappers and sexual predators. Also consider putting together a child identification kit containing photos and information such as distinguishing physical characteristics and a fingerprint record. In the unlikely event that your child ever goes missing, you can give the police the kit.

Preschoolers should...

School-age children should...

Adapted from Schuman A, Contemp Pediatr 2005;22(3);36