Law enforcement, parents share tips on how to keep children out of harms way


In the past week, there has been two Amber Alerts in North Carolina for missing children.

A teen in Lumberton has been missing for eight days now.

In Gastonia, a child was reunited with her family after being abducted by her father.

Tuesday, 9 On Your Side spoke with local law enforcement on the issue.

“A lot of times when you see the abductions, it is not random,” Detective David Flynn said. “It is someone who has access.”

Flynn said one step to preventing an abduction is knowing your child’s passwords to all social media accounts.

“In terms of the child abductions we are seeing lately, lots of times we will find that they have met someone or were talking to someone before they disappeared,” Flynn said.

Flynn said parents should take note of what children are wearing each day so if something happens, law enforcement has an accurate description.

Parents should advise children to yell and scream specifically for help if they are abducted.

It is important that the child states that they have been kid napped, so passersby do not mistake the child yelling for having a temper tantrum.

Parents should tell children that just because someone is nice and polite, it does not mean they are safe.

It is also important that families establish a “code word”.

“Have a secret word that all of your kids know, that you know, that in case something happens and someone unfamiliar has to go pick up your children, if they know the password, the children know it is safe to get in,” Flynn said.

Flynn said parents should have these conversations with their children as soon as they start school.

Alexis Denton said she is preparing to talk to her young daughter about safety in a few years.

“As the older she gets, probably four or five, I am going to let her know she has got to be careful,” Denton said.

Flynn said to always pay attention to your surroundings and what your child puts online.

“If you are not careful what information you put out, they can know where you live, where you go to school, and all that stuff and develop a plan,” Flynn said.

The code word system thwarted a kid napping attempt in Arizona last week.

A 10-year-old girl asked a man for the codeword her family made up.

When the man could not answer, he drove off in a hurry.

Flynn said it is important for parents to always be involved in their child’s life to ensure safety.

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