What kid would have a chance if a big adult tried to grab them?
Many kids have been grabbed, but have gotten away, even though they’ve been much smaller and lighter. How?
By being smart they are keeping safe.
Bigger doesn’t always mean better when it comes to adults that try to steal kids. Sometimes, a kid can do things that will allow them to get away from that adult.
One example can be used when a child has their bike or another large item nearby. Have you ever tried to drag an unwilling person and their bike into an open car door? By holding onto your bike and not letting go, you make it impossible for a would-be abductor to fit you through their car door. By screaming and also causing a fuss, he or she also risks attracting attention to the scene. For a bad person who doesn’t want to get caught, attention is the last thing they want. Stop the abduction.
Another example of how a little kid can get away from a big adult is the “Windmill Technique.” Someone you don’t want to go with grabs your arm, and begins to pull you toward a waiting car, structure, or deserted area. By rotating your straight arm rapidly in a circle from your shoulder, like a windmill, you can catch that person off guard, and break their grip. Then, it’s time to run and scream! Remember, bad people don’t want attention from good adults!
Sometimes, the best way to keep yourself safe is to keep your distance. A car pulls up to the curb and a friendly-looking woman in a nice dress asks if you could help her out by giving her directions to the park. She may beckon you closer to her open car door by saying she can’t hear you, by asking you to ride along with her, by offering you money, even by saying your mom said it was okay. But you should never get within “grabbing” distance of a car with someone in it that you don’t know. Stay firmly on the sidewalk, turn, and walk the other direction. You don’t have to be polite; you don’t have to say anything at all, just turn and walk in the direction opposite of that the car is driving in. Since it takes awhile for a car to make a turn, it should give you a chance to get away.
What if the car follows you, though? You can keep changing directions until you can get somewhere safe. Crowded stores with a clerk on duty, a police or fire station, any place with lots of witnesses and someone who can help you are good choices. If you’re in a block of houses, you can either go to a house your parents have approved, or you can scream, yell and make a commotion. Hopefully, this will bring people to their front windows to see what’s going on. They may even take down the license plate number or type of car. A bad person who wants to steal children won’t want that kind of trouble.
Keeping your distance also applies to avoiding bad situations with people on foot. A nice-looking man in the park comes toward you with a “Missing” poster for an adorable puppy. He’s even got a leash. He wants you to help, and he is so sad he’s even willing to pay a reward for the kid that finds his puppy.
As much as you may love animals, don’t help someone like this. It’s easy for someone to get any photo of any dog and make up fake missing posters on their home computers. Anyone can buy an empty dog leash. Get away and tell an adult you know what is happening. You could help some other kid who isn’t as smart and safe as yourself from falling for this old story.
If you’re being followed, or if you break free in a crowded area, you can use the “Velcro ™ Technique” to force another adult to help you, even if they don’t want to get involved.
You’re being chased by someone you know wants to hurt you. You’re running and screaming, bringing attention to yourself, but that person is still running after you. He or she may even be lying to those around saying that you have a behavior problem, or you lie constantly, or they’re your parent. By wrapping both of your arms around the arm of someone in the area, and refusing to let go, you can force another adult to get you help—you won’t let go until they do.
Let the adult know why you’re hanging on to them for dear life. Tell them you need help, that you need the police, and that you won’t let go until the police come. Even if they shake you off, attach yourself again and hold on for dear life. That person may be in a hurry, may not want to get involved. The person you attach to like Velcro ™ may even believe the person chasing you. Keep repeating that you are in trouble and that you have to talk to the police, and eventually they’ll have no choice but to call the police just to get rid of you!
What if a person threatens you with a gun or a knife if you don’t get into their car? It might seem smart for you to go along with them and escape later, but you’ll actually have a better chance of staying safe if you get away before you are trapped in their home or vehicle—even if they have a gun.
Think of it this way: would you rather be shot where they’re trying to take you from (your bedroom, the street, the mall, etc.) or would you rather be shot in the woods or this person’s house? Which place has more people around who would help you if you did get shot? Which place would attract the most attention if the gun went off? You’re smarter and safer if you stay out of that person’s vehicle.
What happens if a bad person does manage to get you in their car? There are still ways you can fight back by learning how to “Break the Car.”
Break the Car!
Your parents are always telling you to be careful with things, or they may break. One place they’d be happy for you to break something is if you’re somehow pulled into the car of a person who wants to hurt you.
A bad person grabs you and throws you into their trunk. The lid slams shut. It’s dark and scary. What do you do?
You could kick and scream, but it’s doubtful anyone would hear you, because the car is moving down the road and you can hear the radio turned up.
First of all, calm down, and remember, there are things you can do to help yourself. First of all, you can make sure that the brake lights on the car don’t work. Every time a driver taps the brakes of a car to slow down or stop, bright red lights flash in the back of the car. This is to warn the drivers behind to slow down or stop, and to avoid accidents. But did you know that if a police officer sees a car with a burnt-out brake light that he or she is more likely to pull that car over to ticket them?
Breaking the brake lights is easy. For one thing, the brakes lights are in the same place in every car—in the back, where the trunk is. So, if you find yourself locked in a trunk, get to work yanking all the wires that lead to the taillights. Pull them all the way out.
In addition, you can let drivers behind the car know you’re there by trying to get your hand outside of the trunk.
Though it may look like there isn’t a space between the trunk and the bottom of the car, in truth many cars have weather stripping or rubber seals around their trunk lids. Start tearing it away, or try to move it aside, and try to flap your hand out the small space between the trunk lid and the back of the car. You will feel the outside air or maybe even see daylight if you do. Keep your hand outside, moving the fingers, in case someone should drive up behind the car. That will alert them to call the police.
Listen and be aware. Are there other cars around? Are you in traffic? If so, then every time you come to a complete stop, use both of your feet to kick the trunk lid as hard as you can. Someone driving behind you might see signs that someone is trapped in the trunk and call the police.
If you’re put in the front of the car, strapped in and threatened to sit still and be quiet, this doesn’t mean you have to listen. No matter what, you have to be aware and get away from the person who took you, and you have to do it before you get someplace where no people will be around to see or hear you.
One place to attract attention is at a stoplight or stop sign, when there’s a car in front of you. You may be on the other side of the car, but your abductor won’t be expecting you to throw yourself onto the floor on his or her side and press the gas. You can tell which one is the gas pedal simply by watching which pedal the driver pushes when they stop and go. By pressing on it as hard as you can, you may send the car you’re in smashing into the car ahead. Nothing gets the attention of other people like a car hitting them!
If you don’t feel like you can get on the floor to hit the gas, then you can still call attention to the car your in by throwing yourself across the lap of the driver and hitting the horn as long as you can while screaming for help.
Another way to break the car is to make sure the driver can’t restart the car once it’s stopped, such as for gas or food. If the driver gets out of the car, takes the keys, and starts to put gas in the car, you can make sure the keys won’t go back in by snapping off a small button from your clothes and putting it into the ignition, just like you would a coin in a video game. If you don’t have a small button, or can’t find anything that will jam into the key slot, you can try to break the car, if the gearshift is in the steering wheel, by leaning on it and trying to break it off. Of course, if you’re at a gas station, the best thing is to get out of the car, but, if you’re locked in and simply can’t, you can break the car.
Sometimes, there are even wires that you can see under the steering wheel or under the dashboard of the car. By yanking on as many of these as you can, you might pull out something that makes the car run, or at the very least you’ll disable the turn signals or lights.
Even if the keys are in the car and the driver is in the seat next to you, you can try to remove the keys to throw them out the window. If you manage to get out of the car with the keys, don’t keep them with you. Throw them as far away as you can, in some bushes where the driver will have to hunt for them or in a big dumpster so he or she will have to dig through the trash to get them back. Then run and scream!
Break the House
If someone takes you to a strange house or hotel where you can’t escape, there are still things you can do to attract attention. If the windows are locked shut or have bars over them, there are still things you can do to try to get people outside the house to notice something odd.
At night, you can turn lights on and off in the room, over and over again, as long as it takes for a neighbor or the police to notice.
Any time of day you can ball up your socks, a towel, or something else that will clog the toilet when you flush it. Now, a plumber will need to be called, or by continuing to flush the water will spill onto the floor. If you’re higher than the first story of a building, then this water may seep onto the ceiling below, alerting those below to contact the person who took you, giving you a chance to scream for help.
If you get any chance alone with a phone you can dial 911, and then set the phone down. You won’t attract attention to yourself by talking on the phone, but the operator will have the time to track the address you’re at.
Even if you’re locked in a closet, you can at least leave a trail of evidence so that if you’re moved, police will know that you’ve been there and will have a better idea of which area you’re in. You can do this by trying to carve a message into a wall, or even by leaving things behind that the police can test to match with samples they’ve taken from your home. Things like hair, tiny drops of blood, or little pieces of skin. These can all be tested and can lead to you.
You can leave clues all along the places that you go. In bathrooms at restaurants you can try to get the attention of another customer or you can leave a message on the walls. You can leave a bracelet or something that your parents will know is yours under a napkin on the table. You can dial 911 for free from a pay phone.
People who take kids are bad. They know they’re bad and that they can go to jail a long time for hurting children. So they don’t want to be caught. So they don’t want attention. By doing whatever you can to bring attention to yourself, you can help put them in jail and put yourself back where you’re safe.