Pediatric: Preventing child abduction
According to the US Department of Justice, over 2,000 American children are reported missing each day. Some children are lost; some run away. Others are kidnapped by a family member. Still, others disappear leaving few clues.
Here are some things you can do to help reduce the chance of your child being abducted:
- Do not leave your young child alone (even for a minute) in a stroller, a car, or any public place, such as a restroom.
- Establish neighborhood boundaries in which your children should play.
- Notice if an older child or adult is giving your child a great deal of attention and find out why.
- Be alert to any changes in your child’s mood, behavior, or attitude.
- Make sure that the school does not release your child to anyone but you or someone you designate to pick him or her up.
- Do not buy items such as hats, shirts, or jackets with your child’s name on them. Abductors often use this information so they can call children by their names and gain their trust.
- Make sure your child knows people they can go to if they need help when you are not around.
- Monitor your child’s activity on the Internet, especially on social media sites. Advise them not to communicate with strangers. Never have your child send specific information (eg, address, phone number) to anyone.
Make sure you have the following items:
- An up-to-date color photograph of your child. Take a new one every six months for children six years or younger and once a year for older children.
- A medical and dental history
- A fingerprint card
Last reviewedJuly 2014by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.