Arming kids with "Stranger Danger" knowledge could save their li - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Arming kids with "Stranger Danger" knowledge could save their life

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There are close to 300 people listed as missing in Iowa right now.  According to the Iowa Department of Public Safety most of them were teens when they disappeared.

What we're learning about the three women held captive in Cleveland does create hope for survival. But, it also creates a sense of fear for your own kids.

Law enforcement officers teach kids about stranger danger and it's sometimes even talked about at school.

But police say it's important that parents have those conversations with their own kids. They suggest starting the conversation with children as young as two about staying close in public.

While the discussion will change as they age, it'll help them know what to do if they're ever approached by a stranger.

Experts stress three points:

  • Identify a stranger as someone they don't know. They won't necessarily look scary like some kids might think.
  • Instruct them not to talk to strangers and never go with a stranger.
  • If someone tries to abduct you, yell, fight, bite or do whatever it takes to not get into the vehicle.  That's because your chances of survival drop if you leave the scene with that person.

Chad Sheehan, Sioux City Police Department said, "You can't tell by looking at someone. And I would tell my family members I don't want you to roll the dice and take a chance that this person does have good intentions because if it ends up that they don't and you've already gotten in the vehicle, it may be too late for you."

When Utah abduction survivor Elizabeth Smart spoke in Sioux City at the Women's Power Lunch in April, she told the crowd she quietly left with her captor at knife point because he threatened to kill her family.

She was 14. With what she knows now, Smart says she wishes she had yelled and fought back.

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