With four attempted child abductions in the area in the past few days, police say now might be an opportunity to talk with, or remind, your kids about “stranger danger.”
None of the abduction attempts was successful, but all were frightening for the parents involved.
Seattle police say a woman left her 4- year-old son in her parked car while she walked her daughter to Coe Elementary School on Queen Anne.
When she returned, she noticed a Hispanic male, between 25 to 32 years of age, light complexion, 5’9″ to 5’10”, very thin, with shaved head, wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans, walking away from her parked car abruptly.
The young child told his mom the man tried to open all the locked doors of their car before walking away.
A White Center woman was kicked and punched as she protected her 3-year-old son from a man she says tried to snatch him.
The family was getting ready for a barbeque Sunday night in the 10400 block of 3rd Avenue Southwest when she says a man “all dressed in black with a black face mask” ran past her carrying her son.
She told police she chased him and managed to trip him, which caused the man to drop her son. The woman, who didn’t want her name used, told investigators she dropped on top of her son to protect him and the man started to punch her. He finally left.
King County Sheriff’s Sgt. Cindi West says deputies are searching for the suspect. Mantrackers searched the neighborhood for evidence.
In Thurston County, deputies are looking for someone who reportedly tried to lure a 10-year-old girl into his car as she was waiting for the school bus Monday morning.
The girl’s mom reported that a white car pulled up to the little girl while she was alone at the bus stop and asked if he had seen his dog. He promised he’d give her candy if she helped him find it.
The mother was watching from nearby and when she walked toward her daughter the man left. She described him as a white male between 25 and 35 years old with dark hair. He was wearing a baseball cap and driving an older model four-door sedan.
The luring attempt in Thurston County follows a couple of other incidents in Lacey, when a man offered a 10-year-old boy $100 to go for a ride in his car.
Seattle police have made an arrest in another abduction attempt during a fundraising race downtown Sunday.
A 35-year-old man was arrested after police say he tried to grab a 4-year-old boy and pull him away from his grandmother, who was watching the Koman Puget Sound Race for the Cure.
Police say with summer weather here, more kids are outside playing at parks and in their neighborhoods. That tends to give more opportunities to those who would prey on children.
The National Child Prevention Council offers these tips for talking with kids about stranger danger:
You should also talk to your children about how they should handle dangerous situations. One way is to teach them “No, Go, Yell, Tell.”
If in a dangerous situations, kids should say no, run away, yell as loud as they can, and tell a trusted adult what happened right away.
It’s good to practice this in different situations so that your children will feel confident in knowing know what to do. Here are a few possible scenarios:
A nice-looking stranger approaches your child in the park and asks for help finding the stranger’s lost dog.
A woman who lives in your neighborhood but that the child has never spoken to invites your child into her house for a snack.
A stranger asks if your child wants a ride home from school.
Your child thinks he or she is being followed.
An adult your child knows says or does something that makes him or her feel bad or uncomfortable.
While your child is walking home from a friend’s house, a car pulls over and a stranger asks for directions.
In addition to teaching children how to recognize and handle dangerous situations and strangers, there are a few more things parents can do to help their children stay safe and avoid dangerous situations.
Know where your children are at all times. Make it a rule that your children must ask permission or check in with you before going anywhere.
Teach children to trust their instincts. Explain that if they ever feel scared or uncomfortable, they should get away as fast as they can and tell an adult.
Teach your children to be assertive. Make sure they know that it’s okay to say no to an adult and to run away from adults in dangerous situations.
By LINDA THOMAS