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Friday, January 25, 2013

Antioch: Man Tried To Lure Child Into His Car Near Sutter Elementary



ANTIOCH, CA -- Antioch school officials are warning parents after a strange man tried to lure a boy into his car Thursday afternoon.

In a message sent out by Principal Paula McEvoy of Sutter Elementary School in Antioch on Thursday evening, McEvoy said a parent had notified her earlier in the day that the woman's fifth grade son was approached after school by a man he did not know who told him he was sent by a family member to pick him up.

The man, described as a Caucasian man with gray hair and stubble and driving a light blue '70s era car, told the student to get in his car.

The student said, "I don't know you" and quickly walked away.

The man was last seen in his car in the parking lot of Chichibu Park on G Street, but he has not been seen since. Antioch police have been notified of the incident, McEvoy said in her message.

With the recent kidnapping attempts in multiple communities, Child Quest thought it would be a good time to remind parents and children of the following safety guidelines. Please review and discuss these concepts with your children.

Safety Ideas for Parents

Knowledge: Know where your children are after school and on weekends (and online). Know the names and phone numbers of your children’s friends and call to introduce yourself to their parents. Teach children to tell you where they will be and to check in with you when they get there and before they are ready to return home.

Safe people: Create a short list of safe people that you give permission for your children to go with. Tell them to call you before going anywhere with someone not on the list, even if they say it is an emergency. Abductions by non-custodial parents are more common than stranger abductions. If you are divorced and have sole custody of your children, tell them whether their non-custodial parent is on the safe people list. To reduce the chance of potential family abduction, get a clear custody order that specifies visitation rights clearly, and know the non-custodial parent’s social security number, date of birth, current address, and employment. Some parents create a password with older children so that parents can tell a friend the password if they ask them to pick up their child. This is risky with very young children because they can be tricked into telling the password.

Records: It is a good idea to keep the following records of your children in a safe place: any custody papers, current photographs, their height and weight, their description (including scars and birthmarks), dental records, fingerprints, and passports. (Once a passport is issued, it makes it difficult for someone else to get another.)

Safety Tips for Kids

Know who you are: Teach children their first and last names, their parents full names, addresses, phone numbers, and about using “911”.  Remember to teach them to use the "send" button when using cell phones (important for young kids).

Know who is a stranger: Define a stranger as anyone the child doesn’t know well. It is important for children to know that people they have seen before are strangers if they do not know them well. And someone can be a stranger even if they look nice or know the child’s name. Tell children not to tell strangers their names or where they live. Do not put a child’s name on the outside of their belongings.

Use the Buddy System: Teach children to use the “buddy system” and to avoid walking or playing alone outside and in public places.

Use the yell, run, and tell rule: Teach children to yell, “No,” to run to where there are safe adults, and to tell an adult if they’ve been approached by a stranger. Tell children that yelling and running are better safety ideas than trying to hide.

Keep a safe distance between yourself and a stranger: Teach children to stay a safe distance (approximately three arm-lengths) away from strangers and strangers cars, even if a stranger seems nice. Teach children to run in the direction opposite from the direction the stranger’s car is traveling. Teach children to walk facing traffic so that they can see if a car stops near them.

It is all right to fight back: Let children know that if a stranger grabs them, it is okay to yell and fight to get the stranger to let go. Tell them yelling is the most important thing they can do, and to yell “No,” “Help,” or “Help, this is not my parent” to get an adults attention.

Know about unsafe touches: Teach children the difference between safe and unsafe touches. Ask them to tell you if someone tries to hurt them or touch their private parts, even if that person said it was a secret.

Home safety: Teach children to keep doors and windows locked when they are home alone, and to go to a neighbor and call 911 if a window is broken or if the door is open when they get home.

Doorbell safety: Teach children to answer the door by asking, “Who is it?” Tell them to never say that they are alone, and to never open the door when they are alone, unless it is someone their guardian told them to expect and let in. When they are alone, ask them to talk through the door and say, “My parents are busy now, I’ll tell them you stopped by.” Tell children to call 911 immediately if the person will not leave.

Phone safety: Teach children that is important to never say they are alone when a stranger calls, and to either let the answering machine screen calls or say, “Mom/Dad can’t come to the phone now, can I take a message?” Tell them to hang up if someone is making strange noises, saying scary things, or not saying anything.

School safety: Encourage schools to establish call-back programs so that if a child does not arrive at school on time, his or her guardians are notified within thirty minutes of when the child was expected.

Internet safety: Put your child’s computer in the family room, or where you can keep an eye on the screen. Teach children that it is not safe to give their last name, address, or phone number to a person on the Internet, and that it is never safe to meet Internet friends in person without a parent’s supervision and consent.

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Did you know CQI staff is available to make presentations in the Silicon Valley (CA)? Our subject matter experts will present to schools, parent groups, companies, civic and non-profit groups, profession and faith-based organizations about Online and Personal Safety. Contact us at info@childquest.org with the subject line “PRESENTATION” or call us at 408-287-4673.
 
Editor: Anthony Gonzalez for Child Quest International.

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