Winnipeg, MB: Following attempted child abductions in three cities across Canada in less than a week, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (Canadian Centre) is urging parents to talk regularly with their kids about important safety strategies.
The abduction of a child by a stranger is the rarest, but most alarming type of missing child case. In the past week alone, attempted abductions have been reported to police in Prince George, BC, Edmonton, AB and Thompson, MB. Thankfully, all attempts were unsuccessful and the children involved were not harmed.
To help prevent any future tragedies, the Canadian Centre is reminding parents of two key ways they can keep children safe:
Practice age-appropriate supervision
Kids have more free time during the summer months. Supervision is critical to keeping them safe. Know where your kids are, who they are with, and when they will be back.
Supervision includes watching out for other children. Pay attention to new individuals hanging around places where children play who are not accompanying a child. If you notice an adult trying to a take a child from a public place and suspect something is not right, get involved.
“When it comes to our kids, we can’t hesitate to intervene if something feels off,” said Christy Dzikowicz, Director of missing children’s services at the Canadian Centre. “The safety of children is everyone’s responsibility. Trust your instincts — get involved and ask questions. A little embarrassment over being wrong is not worth the safety of a child.”
Children require different levels of supervision based on factors such as age, development, environments and individual characteristics — the Canadian Centre for Child Protection lists age-appropriate recommendations for supervision here.
Teach the Buddy System
The Buddy System continues to be the single most effective way to reduce the risk of child abduction.
“It sounds simple, and it is simple,” said Dzikowicz. “Being with an age-appropriate buddy — a parent or older sibling for small children, or a friend for older kids — is the number one way to keep children safe in situations that may be preventable.”
It is never too early to start teaching children about the buddy system. BillyBuddy.ca has resources to help parents teach young children this safety strategy. As children get older and become more independent, it is critical to continue this conversation with them. Continue to reinforce the importance of the buddy system as a safety habit throughout their lifetime.