10-Year-Old Girl Foils Kidnappers By Using Safe Word
The Globe and Mail is reporting that a 10-year-old Ontario girl foiled a would-be kidnapping by using her smarts. A man approached her after school and told her that her mother had sent him to pick her up, she asked him for the pre-arranged family safe word and he got it wrong.
She realized that it was a bad situation and got away, catching some of the license plate letters too. According to police they are searching for a man and woman in their 20's.
It's the kind of happy ending that makes parents proud and scared at the same time. She knew what to do and used her brain to get away. But the fact that there was a potential abductor anywhere, especially in the same province, makes every parent anxious to the core.
Stranger abductions are never far from most parents' mind. Even though the statistics show the chances of a child being plucked from thin air are infinitesimally small. It's well documented that kids are more often abused by people they know than by strangers on the street.
I haven't given my kids a "safe word" that only family members know. This article in today's Globe, says a password isn't necessarily the best idea. I have talked to them about strangers and appropriate touching and feel like I have made them as street safe as I can. I haven't told them to avoid all strangers -- because in an emergency, strangers will be the ones to help. I want them to know that most people are good, not evil.
One thing that has always stuck with me is that you never want your kids to feel like it is their fault. Because no matter what they said, or yelled or did, or didn't do, it's never their fault.
So after reading this story, I go to bed a little uneasy tonight. And slightly less likely to let my kids walk around the neighbourhood by themselves. It always takes me a little while to shake off the fear of an unsafe world.
So I'm wondering: have you taught your kids safe words? Do you think about stranger danger often? Or just when it crops up in the news?