National Missing Children’s Day Is May 25
What Parents Can Do To Keep Children Safe
ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Every year in America an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing, more than 2,000 children each day. Of that number, 200,000 are abducted by family members, and 58,000 are abducted by non-family members. The primary motive for non-family abductions is sexual. Each year 115 children are the victims of the most serious abductions, taken by non-family members and either murdered, held for ransom, or taken with the intent to keep.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) wants to remind the public that National Missing Children’s Day is May 25th. The organization wants parents to know there are things they can do to keep their children safer and it urges parents to take 25 minutes to talk to their children about their safety. NCMEC has produced the attached safety tips as a part of its Take 25 national child safety campaign.
“We know teaching children about safety works,” said Ernie Allen, president and CEO of NCMEC. “It is important that parents take the time to talk to their children about safety.”
An analysis of attempted abduction cases by NCMEC found that in 81% of the cases, children escaped would-be abductors through their own actions, by yelling, kicking, pulling away, running away or attracting attention.
May 25th is the anniversary of the day in 1979 when 6-year-old Etan Patz disappeared from a New York street corner on his way to school and this day has been observed as National Missing Children’s Day since 1983 when it was first proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan. Etan’s story captivated the nation. His photo, taken by his father, a professional photographer, was circulated nationwide and appeared in media across the country and around the world. The powerful image of Etan has come to symbolize the anguish and trauma of thousands of searching families. The search for Etan continues. He is still missing.
NCMEC is the leading nonprofit organization dealing with the issues of missing and sexually exploited children and operates a 24-hour toll free national hotline for reporting missing child cases. NCMEC has played a role in the recovery of more than 175,234 children and today, more children come home safely than ever before. Last year alone we helped recover 11,716 children, improving our recovery rate from 62 percent in 1990 to 97.7 percent today. And more of those who prey upon children are being identified and prosecuted. Yet too many children are still missing and too many children are still the victims of sexual exploitation. There is much more that needs to be done.
About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1984. Designated by Congress to serve as the nation’s clearinghouse, the organization has operated the toll-free 24-hour national missing children’s hotline which has handled more than 3,568,780 calls. It has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 175,230 children. The organization’s CyberTipline has handled more than 1,416,460 reports of child sexual exploitation and its Child Victim Identification Program has reviewed and analyzed more than 68,121,870 child pornography images and videos. The organization works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice’s office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. To learn more about NCMEC, call its toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or visit its web site at www.missingkids.com.
TAKE 25 CAMPAIGN
25 WAYS TO KEEP KIDS SAFE
Teach your children their full names, address, and home telephone number. Make sure they know your full name.
Make sure your children know how to reach you at work or on your cell phone.
Teach your children how and when to use 911 and make sure your children have a trusted adult to call if they’re scared or have an emergency.
Instruct children to keep the door locked and not to open the door to talk to anyone when they are home alone. Set rules with your children about having visitors over when you’re not home and how to answer the telephone.
Choose babysitters with care. Obtain references from family, friends, and neighbors. Once you have chosen the caregiver, drop in unexpectedly to see how your children are doing. Ask children how the experience with the caregiver was and listen carefully to their responses.
On the Internet
Learn about the Internet. The more you know about how the Web works, the better prepared you are to teach your children about potential risks. Visit www.NetSmartz.org for more information about Internet safety.
Place the family computer in a common area, rather than a child’s bedroom. Also, monitor their time spent online and the websites they’ve visited and establish rules for Internet use.
Know what other access your child may have to the Internet at school, libraries, or friends’ homes.
Use privacy settings on social networking sites to limit contact with unknown users and make sure screen names don’t reveal too much about your children.
Encourage your children to tell you if anything they encounter online makes them feel sad, scared, or confused.
Caution children not to post revealing information or inappropriate photos of themselves or their friends online.
Walk the route to and from school with your children, pointing out landmarks and safe places to go if they’re being followed or need help. If your children ride a bus, visit the bus stop with them to make sure they know which bus to take.
Remind kids to take a friend whenever they walk or bike to school. Remind them to stay with a group if they’re waiting at the bus stop.
Caution children never to accept a ride from anyone unless you have told them it is OK to do so in each instance.
Out and About
Take your children on a walking tour of the neighborhood and tell them whose homes they may visit without you.
Remind your children it’s OK to say NO to anything that makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused and teach your children to tell you if anything or anyone makes them feel this way.
Teach your children to ask permission before leaving home.
Remind your children not to walk or play alone outside.
Teach your children to never approach a vehicle, occupied or not, unless they know the owner and are accompanied by a parent, guardian, or other trusted adult.
Practice “what if” situations and ask your children how they would respond. “What if you fell off your bike and you needed help? Who would you ask?”
Teach your children to check in with you if there is a change of plans.
During family outings, establish a central, easy-to-locate spot to meet for check-ins or should you get separated.
Teach your children how to locate help at theme parks, sports stadiums, shopping malls, and other public places. Also, identify those people who they can ask for help, such as uniformed law enforcement, security guards and store clerks with nametags.
Help your children learn to recognize and avoid potential risks, so that they can deal with them if they happen.
Teach your children that if anyone tries to grab them, they should make a scene and make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming, and resisting.
SOURCE National Center for Missing & Exploited Children