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Preventing Child Abductions

Many parents worry about keeping their child safe in and around the neighborhood. Fortunately, child abductions are rare, although they understandably get plenty of media attention when they occur. Most abductions occur when children are taken by noncustodial parents, although a smaller number of stranger abductions do take place each year.

Here are some suggestions to help keep your child safe:

  • When you’re shopping with your child, keep an eye on him at all times, as he can move quickly and out of your line of vision in an instant.
  • When choosing a preschool, ask about safety issues. Make sure a policy is in place where your child can be picked up only by his parent or someone else you designate.
  • Although your child should be supervised by a trusted adult at all times, it is still important to teach him to never get into a car or go along with someone unfamiliar to him. If a stranger tells him something like “There’s a lost puppy in my car; come into the car for a minute and see if you know him,” he should emphatically say “no.” In fact, tell him to run away as fast as possible from dangers like this and to yell very loudly and find a trusted adult in any situation in which he feels threatened.
  • When hiring babysitters, always check references and/or ask for recommendations from friends and family members.
  • For more information, contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (1–800–843–5678;
Last Updated
Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5 (Copyright © 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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