HomeNewsFeaturesDisplay

Child safety is everyone's job

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- Students from RAF Feltwell Elementary School make their way to an open field to watch a helicopter demonstration June 2, 2010. Recently, U.S. Air Forces in Europe bases have experienced a series of unsuccessful child abduction attempts.  Wing leadership advises parents, students, teachers and 48th Fighter Wing personnel to be more vigilant and maintain situational awareness.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Lausanne Morgan)

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- Students from RAF Feltwell Elementary School make their way to an event June 2, 2010. Recently, U.S. Air Forces in Europe bases have experienced a series of unsuccessful child abduction attempts. Wing leadership advises parents, students, teachers and 48th Fighter Wing personnel to be more vigilant and maintain situational awareness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Lausanne Morgan)

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- For many parents one of their biggest fears is the thought of their child being abducted.

In order to help educate families and their children, Tech. Sgt. Michael Price, 48th Security Forces Squadron provost NCO in charge and Drug Abuse Resistance Education instructor, goes to base schools to teach about the dangers of drugs and alcohol and prevention techniques to keep children from being abducted, known as stranger danger training.

"We brief them what to look for when they're walking home and that it's okay to fight back if someone tries to grab them," said Price. "They can push, shove and do whatever they have to do to get away from that person trying to abduct them."

If children are approached by a stranger, he recommends not talking to them, walking away or screaming and making as much noise as they can.

According to Price the most important tip he can give children is always walk with a friend or in a group.

He added that they should change their routine by not taking the same route every day and occasionally using different modes of travel.

Abductors have used things that children like, such as animals or candy, to try and lure them away from the public. If children are aware of these things, they are less likely to become a victim.

Parents play a large role in preventing child abductions as well. Price says the best way for parents to protect their children is to be involved in their lives.

"Know what your kids are doing and where they're going. Parents can mitigate a lot of the factors that go into abduction by being more involved," said Price.

If a child does go missing, there are steps parents should take.

"It is important to have an updated photo of your child, but it is absolutely vital for law enforcement to be notified of the disappearance of a child right away," said Price. "Sometimes parents will delay calling and take matters into their own hands. Statistics have shown if your child goes missing more than 24 hours, then it's more likely you'll never see them again. That's why time is of the essence."

Price also mentioned one of the reasons people may not be vigilant enough is due to living on base and thinking things like this couldn't happen to them.

He went on to explain that although Lakenheath makes great efforts to ensure security; there is no way to ensure 100 percent that incidents won't happen.

According to Lisa Thompson, 48th Mission Support Group school liaison officer, ensuring the safety of children is a duty we all should share.

"As parents and a military community we need to protect our children and educate ourselves about child abduction, how to prevent it and what steps to take if a child does go missing," said Thompson. "This should be a reminder to everyone overseas to stay vigilant ensuring our children's safety."