How Parents Can Win the Battle To Keep Your Child Safe From Strangers This Holiday Season

Michelle Annese

When we think of Holiday shopping, we think of all the glowing lights at our area malls and the various eye-catching decorations in shopping centers. Along with distractions with our ‘to do’ list in our heads, we get preoccupied with carrying bags and scoping out gifts. But with all the whirlwinds of diversions, we cannot put our guard down with who is scoping out our own children.

To help with this here are the top 7 things parents can do to prevent their young from falling prey to strangers and child kidnappers in the busy hustle and bustle of the season.

1. Stay connected. Make sure you have your children with you whether in a stroller or holding your hand. Even if your child stays next to you other times of the year, all the distractions of toys, decorations, and Santa can make any kid get sidetracked. For older children invest in a family walkie-talkie set. Make sure they know how to use it and check in with them on regular time intervals to know where they are – even if they are right next to you.

2. If your child is lost go right to security. Most malls and shopping centers have security protocol when a child is missing. Don’t try to look for your child alone. Let them help you the second you realize you cannot find your child – every moment counts.

3. Know what your child is wearing that day, and carry a recent picture with you in your wallet. Most moms and dads have lots of pictures of the kids, but baby pics are not helpful if your child is lost and security needs to search for them.

4. Teach your child what to do if a stranger approaches them. First – Run away! Second – Tell somebody!

5. Role play with your child ahead of time. Use tactics that some kidnappers have used in the past and teach your children not to ‘fall for a stranger’s sneaky tricks!” i.e. stranger favorite lures: candy, video games, comic books, toys, telling them "your mommy told me to bring you home" etc.

6. Do not have your child wear anything with their name on it – i.e. back packs, purses, and jackets. Child offenders with pick up these clues and use the child’s name when speaking with them to gain trust.

7. Practice, Practice, Practice! Reviewing these strategies not only will help your child remember, but keep it on your mind as well. We all want our children safe, happy and well for more holidays to come.

About The Author

Michelle Annese is the author of The Realtor Survival Guide and owner of, a web site devoted to information for women about self-defense, crime prevention and other personal safety topics.

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