Child abduction – two words that strike fear into the heart of every parent.
Sadly, not only is child abduction a common occurrence, frighteningly, it’s also on the rise with a staggering 2,185 children going missing every single day.
No, that’s not a typo, that’s the terrifying rate at which children go missing in the US every day.
Recently, writer and mother, Karrie Marie wrote about how she wants to lower these statistics. And she intends to do it with just one word.
“We can only do so much to protect our children the best that we can. Teaching our children safety measures are a very important factor in keeping them safe.”
“Every household should create an easily remembered secret word or phrase to use in the event that some one else has to pick up your child(ren). This may or may not be a person that is familiar to your child(ren). However something has come up and you can’t be present to pick up your child(ren).”
“Therefore you assign another person to arrive for the child(ren) in event of your absence. It is so imperative to use a secret word or phrase even if the child(ren) does know the person that is taking them.”
“It is very important that you also realise that more child abductions occur within family than by strangers.”
Marie encourages parents to allow the child to come up with the safe word themselves so not only does the word sink in, it will also be something that they are familiar with.
She further advises parents to not become too relaxed or complacent, especially if they are the parent who would usually pick the child up.
“Many parents may think that they wouldn’t have to worry about this due to that they are always there for the child(ren)’s arrival. However this is strongly needed in the event of emergencies.”
“Children are innocent and if not taught well, would be willing to believe that a member of the family or a stranger may have been sent to get them since their parents couldn’t make it. This begins the child’s abduction. This is something that may have been easily prevented.”
The “safe word” or “password” is also backed up by The Morcombe Foundation. Tragically, Daniel Morcombe was abducted when he was only 13 years old and innocently waiting for a bus that never arrived. The Morcombes have worked tirelessly ever since his abduction and subsequent death to raise awareness about child abduction and how to avoid it:
“Our son Daniel did not get a second chance. His legacy is that you can learn from this tragic event and make sure it does not happen again. Daniel has given you that second chance.”
The following are some tips The Morcombe Foundation advise to keep your child safe from abduction:
1. When you can, stay with a friend. Even if you have a fight with your mate, don’t go off alone.