Non-familial abductions are rare. The recent attempted abduction of a 5-year-old in Utah highlights the fact they can and do happen in even the best of places. From this situation we learned that it is wise to lock your doors even in the quietest of places. We also learned that quick thinking and super awareness can turn the tide from tragedy to celebration.

Most important, yet again, sadly one family learned abduction is not just something that happens to other people. It can and does affect people who would otherwise feel untouchable. Maybe that’s why the topic of abduction and child safety causes people to feel so uncomfortable. Realizing vulnerability is unsettling and frightening. Perhaps they think reading about it will make it happen.

My sister, Elizabeth Bailey, and I wrote Safe Kids, Smart Parents based on our personal and professional experiences with families and individuals who have had direct or near direct experiences with abductions. We were surprised how many children had been impacted directly or at least had an awareness of the news around them. The trauma for many of these children not directly impacted lay in the fact no one discussed with them the scary things they had heard. Awareness, information, and rules are key. Here are a few tips you can start thinking about and doing right away:

Speak up, talk with your children about how to stay safe.
Let them know the world is a wonderful place but things do happen.
Don’t take silly chances but don’t breed fear. Fear can cripple a person!


Rebecca Bailey, PhD, co-author of Safe Kids, Smart Parents, is a leading family psychologist and therapist who works with families to help them transition from crisis and conflict to connection and growth. She speaks to professionals and parents about helping families heal from within. She is a graduate of the Wright Institute and is the founder of the Innovative Transitioning Families program in northern California.

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