In the wake of an 11-year-old girl’s abduction off the street in Springfield, in which a stranger has been charged, here are some tips police and child safety experts say parents should share with their children:
- Kids should be aware of their surroundings, and parents should talk to them. “You have to let them know that they can come to you, or a relative they can trust, with any information with anybody who they think is following them, looking at them,” Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood said at a press conference.
- Children should know where to go when they feel unsafe. On Monday, a girl walking home in Springfield ran to a local business when a man in a blue Honda tried to persuade her to get in the car. “When possible, adults should take the route home with them and identify safe places for them,” said Thomas King of the Massachusetts Children’s Alliance. “A business can be a good spot to check in with someone if they’re in trouble.”
- A victim of an abduction should scream “I don’t know this person! Help!” as loudly as possible. “Say those things really, really loudly,” King said. “Bring attention to the situation.”
- Bystanders need to step up and respond when they see a kid in danger. “Adults need to be vigilant,” King said. “Adults in this case showed such conviction and did not shy away from getting involved. Everyone responded to protect that child.”
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