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Child Safety Situation #1

Boy, 10 months old; snatched in mall parking lot while his mother was putting his older sister in the car.

In January of 1998, Pat* took her two children with her to a shopping mall. When she made her way back to her car, she carefully held her three-year-old daughter's hand, as she pushed her 10-month-old son in his stroller. When her daughter hopped into the back seat, Pat leaned in to strap her in her seat. While her back was turned, a 15-year-old boy grabbed hold of the stroller with the baby in it. A man who heard Pat scream ran after the boy racing away with the stroller and baby. This story has a happy ending: Pat got her son back right away. The man caught the teenager before he reached the car where his relatives were waiting for the baby.

What can you learn from this story to make you more predator smart?

If someone takes your child, scream for help. What do you think Pat yelled that let the man know what the problem was? Maybe she cried, "Help me! The teenage boy is stealing my baby. Stop the boy pushing the stroller!". Remember, it is not enough just to scream. She had to tell the people around her the kind of help she needed.

Get involved:
We all must be willing to answer a cry for help. Even the most vigilant parents can have their child snatched. Predators are so brazen they will grab children out of their yard, their house, off the beach, anywhere if you take your eyes off your child for a minute. Recently a mother saw a man trying to drag a child into a car. She jumped out of her car and ran him off with a stick. Another woman heard a child screaming in the woods behind her house, and when she went to investigate, she scared off the man who was trying to rape the little girl.

What to do:
You should report to the police anyone who has just gotten a child, if the child is obviously not a newborn. Some people steal babies and, then, pretend the baby is their own, because they want to raise a child. Others sell the baby, as if it were their own, to people who cannot have a baby. To return the baby to its rightful parents whose hearts are breaking is worth having the police ask for proof the baby came from a legitimate source.

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*Names changed to protect privacy; information presented for educational purposes only. Reprinted with permission from The Jimmy Ryce Center.

| Child Safety Main | Responding to Child Abuse |

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