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For Our Children's Safety

     In an age of "cradle to grave" entitlements, the constant oversight by regulatory agencies and the acceptance of the "it takes a village to raise a child" philosophy of childcare, abdication of parental responsibilities to others has become the norm. It is easy to become complacent about child safety when society offers so many convenient alternatives to direct parental education and guidance such as childcare specialists, day care centers, primary and secondary educational institutions and the like. Many parents mistakenly assume that their children are in the care of experienced, knowledgeable, attentive professionals when, in reality, they are often barely acknowledged or tolerated by disinterested, incompetent employees. The reality of the situation is that the watchful eye of a caring, capable adult is not always following your child during your absence.

Even parents who do their utmost to keep their children safe and secure find it is impossible to be with them every minute of every day. It is inevitable that all parents, at some point, are forced to place their children in the care of trusted strangers, hoping they will provide the same level of care and concern as they would. Although many of these people charged with our children's wellbeing may be worthy of our trust, they too may be incapable of supervising every child every minute. As parents, our primary role is to protect our children, which includes empowering them to protect themselves should a dangerous situation arise when left unguarded. Ignorance of the potential for tragedy to strike is unacceptable. Leaving children unaware of the existing dangers or unprepared to react to them appropriately is equally unacceptable. It is incumbent upon parents to seek out all credible sources of information that will provide children with the necessary tools to remain safe during their most vulnerable years. Consider the following questions and staggering statistics of tragic events that occur in the lives of average families every year as a means of assessing your child's preparedness.

Lost Children

Does your child know what to do if they are lost or suddenly separated from you? Can you be sure your child will remember what you have taught him/her when stricken with fear if such a dangerous situation should occur? Statistics clearly indicate that losing a child is common.

- Over 2000 U.S. children become lost every day. - 90% of families will experience losing a child in a public place.

- 20% have lost a child more than once.

- 95% of children will never forget the trauma of getting lost.

- Parents rank losing a child five times more concerning to them than terrorism and three times more concerning than abduction.

- Children are most often lost in malls and stores (45%).

- 27% of families who visit an amusement park lose a child while they are there. That is nearly one in three families!

- 7 out of 10 children get lost at least once.

- The Department of Justice reports over 1.3 million children lost or missing each year. Of those, approximately 100 kidnappings compared to 800,000 children lost for other reasons that are not of their own will (family-related snatchings, lost for benign reasons such as wandering away, etc.).


- National Incident Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Thrownaway Children.
- U.S. Department of Justice. October 2002.
- Wander Wear Inc. parent survey, September 2006.
- IntiMetrix study, 2002.
- National Sex Offender Public Website, U.S. Department of Justice.

Abducted Children

Does your child know how to avoid being abducted? Can you be sure your child will remember what you have taught him/her when approached by a skilled predator? The statistics clearly indicate that the abduction of children occurs more frequently than any of us care to imagine.

- More than 200,000 children were abducted by family members last year.

- More than 58,000 children were abducted by non-family members.

- Of child victims of "stereotypical kidnappings" 40% are killed, 4% are never found, 71% are by a stranger and 29% are by a slight acquaintance.

- Of non-family abductions, 32 percent occur on a street or in a car and 25 percent take place in a park or wooded area. - In 80 percent of abductions by strangers, the first contact between the child and the abductor occurs within a quarter mile of the child's home.

Family abductions

- In 16% of family abductions, the child experiences severe mental harm.

- 8% of the children experience physical harm.

- 7% of the children are sexually abused.

- Mothers take the child 46% of the time and fathers take the child 54% of the time.

Non-Family abductions

- More than 65% of the children abducted by non-family members are girls.

- 46% of children are sexually abused.

- 31% of the children are physically abused.


- U.S. Department of Justice, "National Estimates of Missing Children: An Overview."
- Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children, October 2002.
- Amber Alert Registry.

Bullied Children

Are you sure your child is not being bullied by other children or even an adult? Does your child understand the motives behind cruel behavior and how to cope with it emotionally? There are few children who do not experience some form of bullying before the age of 18.

- 77% of students are bullied mentally, verbally and physically.

- 1 in 5 students admit to being a bully or doing some bullying.

- Each day 160,000 students miss school for fear of being bullied.

- 43% of kids fear harassment in the bathroom at school.

- 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.

- Every 7 minutes a child is bullied on a playground. Of these incidents, adult intervention occurred 4% of the time, peer intervention was 11%. There was no intervention for 85% of these occurrences.

- Some of the top years for bullying include 4th through 8th graders in which 90 percent were reported as victims of some kind of bullying.


- National Bullying Prevention Center, 2012.
- National Center for Education Statistics, 2012.
- School Survey on Crime and Safety, 2010.

Molested Children

The statistics clearly indicate that the vast majority of children who are sexually abused are victimized by people known to them (family, teachers, coaches, clergy, etc.) and most children never report the abuse even to their parents. Children need to understand that molestation is always a crime and that its occurrence is not their fault. The behavior is unacceptable regardless of the perpetrator's relationship to the child and it must be reported immediately. Since 15 out of every 100 Americans is either a molested child or a molester, parents need to realize that it is very likely child molestation has occurred or is occurring within their family.

- The Center for Disease Control research has estimated that approximately 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18.

- Other governmental research has estimated that approximately 300,000 children are abused every year in the U.S.

- Like rape, child molestation is one of the most underreported crimes: only 1-10% are ever disclosed.

- Overall, 23% of sexual offenders were under the age of 18 and 77% were adults.

- Adults were the offender in 60% of the sexual assaults of youth under age 12. Rarely were the offenders of young victims strangers. Strangers were the offender in just 3% of sexual assaults against victims under age 6 and 5% of the sexual assault of victimizations of youth ages 6 through 11.

- Approximately 90% of all reported perpetrators are known to their victims such as a family member, caregiver or family acquaintance.475% of the violent victimizations of children took place in either the victim's home or the offenders home.

- The typical offender is male, begins molesting by age 15, engages in a variety of deviant behavior, and molests an average of 117 youngsters, most of whom do not report the offense.

- Many clinical settings currently are witnessing a dramatic increase in the number of adolescent offenders who have committed sexually aggressive acts against other children.

- 50% of reported child molestations involve the use of physical force and child molesters produce as much visible physical injury as rapists - 39% of victims.

- 3 in 10 child victimizers reported that they had committed their crimes against multiple victims.

For additional information, go to the Child Molestation Research & Prevention Institute.


- American Psychological Association
- FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin
- U.S. Department of Justice, Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement, 7/00, NCJ 182990
- Finkelhor, D. 1994
- BJS Survey of State Prison Inmates, 1991
- Dr. Gene Abel in a National Institute of Mental Health Study
- Conte, Jon R., 1986

Copyright (c) 2013 Allison James

Article Source:

Allison James is an early childhood educator and a professional artist of over 20 years experience and co-founder of Storyized, Inc.

Posted on 2013-05-07, By: *

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Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author.

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