I keep my parenting nightmares in a silver box in my head. I try not to open it, ever, because if I do, I tend to leave that nice place called "Reality" and slide quickly down into "Paralyzing Anxiety."
My worst fear, of all the fears, is that my daughter will be taken from me. I have to work constantly to ignore the possibility of kidnapping, because she is so often out of my grasp at daycare. However, it appears research doesn't support the Massive Freak-Out I'm about to have just because I'm even writing about this topic.
According to Momstyle:
The Department of Justice reports that there are only 115 stereotypical kidnappings per year, in which a stranger or acquaintance abducts a child to hold for ransom or abuse and kill him or her.
Apparently, strangers aren't the real danger. Here's more from Glamorous Mom:
The recent cases in the headlines however, appear to be non-family abductions. It is estimated that 3,200-4,600 non-family abductions are reported to law enforcement each year. Most offenders are someone known to the family, such as a casual acquaintance. Of those reported, approximately 200-300 are total stranger abductions, someone not known to the family kidnaps the child. Although the headlines lead us to believe that the number of stranger kidnappings is on the rise, most studies show no increase or even a decrease.
Good to know, right? Other people probably don't want your child, or even if they do, they're not going to act on that desire. It's probably fine to let your child walk down the street without you, provided he or she knows not to pet anyone's puppy, follow them for candy or let them touch anywhere a swimming suit would cover. The world is not necessarily a terrifying place, at least as far as kidnapping is concerned.
I don't want to downplay kidnapping too much, though, because while chances are far greater your child will be in a car accident with you driving than be kidnapped, it does happen. And even 115 times is too many. So, don't panic, but do print out this list from Help Find My Child and tuck it away somewhere safe.
- Report your child as missing to local law enforcement or dial 999* as soon as possible.
- Ask if your child can be placed on the www.missingkids.co.uk website (.com for the US). Only a police officer can refer a child to the website.
- Ask for the name and contact number of the officer you have spoken to.
- Limit access to your home until law enforcement arrives. Don’t touch or remove anything from your home or your child’s room – anything in your home could hold a clue to the whereabouts of your child.
- Write down what your child was wearing the last time you saw them and remember to include distinguishing features such as birthmarks, scars, tattoos, piercings etc.
- Make a list of your child’s friends and contacts. Try and include addresses, phone numbers, e-mails and mobile numbers if you know them. This can save valuable time.
- Find a recent photographs of your child.
- Keep a notepad by your phone to log down who calls you and the times of calls.
- Keep a diary or notebook to hand – this comes in useful as you may think of questions you want to ask or think of some information, which you may later forget.
- Look after yourself – your child needs you to remain strong and healthy!
- Talk to someone about the feelings you have.
You will probably never need this list, despite what the television news would have you believe. But I wanted you to have it anyway.
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