Bob Stuber, creator of an abduction prevention and survival course known as “Escape School,” devised the following test to help parents teach their children how to avoid potential threats and what to do if someone tries to abduct them. Read your children the questions and ask which response they would use. Then go over the correct response with them.
Q 1: A car approaches you with the window rolled down. A sweet-looking lady asks you for directions. What do you do?
a. Turn and walk the other direction. Do not approach the car. b. Help her out, she’s a nice lady. c. Help her, but from a distance.
The correct answer is: a. Turn and walk the other direction. Though it may seem mean to not help out someone who looks like your grandma, remember bad people look like the rest of us. They can be young, old or even be on the floor of a car, forcing a nice old lady to get you close enough to grab. Just keep in mind: Adults can get whatever information they need from other adults. There isn’t any reason for them to be asking kids. Keep walking, change direction and pretend you don’t hear.
Q 2: A man approaches you, looking upset. He has an empty leash and a poster showing a cute puppy missing. He says he’s desperate to find his puppy, he’ll even pay you if you find it. What do you do?
a. Help him, he has a leash and a poster, after all. b. Run the other direction and tell an adult. c. Tell him you’ll keep an eye out, then go back to what you were doing.
The correct answer is: b. Run the other direction and tell an adult. You don’t have to even own a dog to buy a leash, and you don’t have to have one to make a poster up on your computer. The “help me find my puppy” speech is one of the oldest one bad strangers use to get kids away from where it’s safe. Even if they don’t believe it, the abductor often uses this to get close enough to grab the child. As abductors become more aggressive, it’s important not only to not fall for their story, but to stay well out of their reach.
Q 3: You’re very scared. A person has grabbed you off the street and now you’re in the trunk of his car. What do you do?
a. Kick and beat on the trunk lid as hard as you can, as long as you’re in the trunk. b. Scream until someone rescues you. c. Try to calm down, and then yank all of the wires at the back of the car.
The correct answer is: c. Yank all of the wires at the back of the car. The brake lights in a car are connected at the back of the trunk. By pulling every wire you can find, you may cause the brake lights to go out. If that happens, the chances of a police officer pulling the car over go way up. Once you hear the car stop, then you can start to pound and kick the trunk lid, while screaming. Save your voice and energy for when the car is stopped. Also, you can try to pull the rubber seal away from the back of the trunk and flap your hand outside. Anyone driving behind can alert the police.
Q 4: Someone points and gun at you and orders you into their car. You:
a. Listen to them, hoping they won’t shoot you. b. Try to wrestle the gun away from them. c. Run, screaming, away toward a more crowded area.
The correct answer is: c. Run, screaming, away toward a more crowded area. Here’s a simple fact: If someone is willing to point a gun at you in a public place, they’ll definitely be ready to use it once they get you alone. Even if you’re threatened with a gun or knife, run away, screaming for help. Think about it — does someone who would steal a child want to draw attention to him or herself? No! The chances you’ll get shot at are small, but even if you do find yourself under fire, it’s hard to hit a moving target. And even in the event you get hit, wouldn’t you rather be in a public place where you can get help? The bottom line: Do everything you can NOT to get into a car with an abductor.
Q 5: Someone has gotten you into their car, and now you’re in the front seat, scared and trapped. The door handles don’t work on your side of the car. Your abductor drives the car, and tells you not to move. Up ahead is a stop sign. A car is in front of you. What do you do?
a. Scream and pound on the windshield, the people in the car ahead might be looking in their rear-view mirror. b. Once you are stopped behind another car, throw yourself onto the driver’s side floor and press the gas pedal as hard as you can. c. Try to kick out the window on your side.
The correct answer is: b. Throw yourself onto the gas pedal. If you can throw yourself onto the gas pedal and send the car you’re in into the rear of the car ahead, you’ll definitely have drawn attention to your vehicle. Even if your abductor races away from the scene of the accident, the car he or she hit will be trying to get the license plate for their police report. Car windows are almost impossible for children to break, even with both feet, and most people are looking ahead and to the side when at a stop sign. Your best bet for drawing attention to your situation is to cause an accident.
Q 6: You’re in a car, and your abductor has gotten out to make a call at a phone on a deserted road. He’s locked you in the car, so you can’t get out and run. What can you do?
a. Reach over and honk the horn. b. Flash the lights on and off. c. Wedge something into the ignition (key slot).
The correct answer is: c. Wedge something into the ignition. If you’re on a deserted road, it’s not likely there will be someone around to hear the horn or see the lights. But, if you can find something — anything — small enough to wedge into the ignition (where the key goes), then your abductor won’t be able to start the car. Items that work include small buttons from your clothes, small coins, gum, foil, even parts of fingernails as long as you can get them far down into the key slot where the driver can’t get them out. If the car doesn’t run, the abductor will either have to call on other people for help or make you get out and walk, which gives you a chance to get away.
Q 7: You’re on your way somewhere when a car comes screeching up. From the open window, the frantic driver tells you your mom has sent him or her — there’s been a very bad accident and you have to go see your mom right away! You:
a. Go with them — in an emergency, seconds count! b. Go with them if you have a friend with you. c. Go with them only if you know them. d. Don’t go with them unless they know the secret password.
The correct answer is: d. Don’t go with them unless they know the secret password. It’s rare parents have ever sent a stranger to pick up their child in an emergency. But even if they send a family friend, make sure your family has a secret password only you and your parents know. Then, make sure this person has the password before you get in. Sometimes, people who do bad things to kids are people we already know. A password will ensure they were really sent by your mom or dad. Otherwise, run to the nearest safe place and call home first — then your parent’s work or the hospital. Only in this way will you get accurate information.
Q 8: You observe a car behaving suspiciously around children. What is the most important information you can remember about this car, in case the police need it later?
a. The license plate number. b. The kind of hat the driver was wearing. c. The color of the car.
The correct answer is: a. The license plate number. By far the most valuable information you could remember, write down and give to the police if they need it is the license plate. Why? Because each car has a unique license plate number issued to it. If you can give this number to the police, chances are (there are some exceptions) they will be able to narrow down the search — quickly. Probably the second most valuable bit of info is the description of the driver or someone else in the car. Also, if the car has anything strange about it, like primer spots, a fender that’s red when the rest of the car is blue, or has strange stickers, this is also something good to look for.
Q 9: You’re out for a bike ride when someone tries to pull you into his or her car. You:
a. Hold onto your bike and don’t let go! b. Drop your bike and run! c. Go along and hope he or she won’t hurt you.
The correct answer is: a. Hold on to your bike and don’t let go. Abductors don’t want to attract attention or want you to be difficult. It’s pretty difficult to put a bike into a car door sideways! Wrap your arms and legs around the bike and don’t let go.
Q 10: You’re walking home from school and a car pulls up beside you, keeping up with you. You can tell they’re following you, so you:
a. Keep walking but ignore them. b. Turn around and run the opposite direction. c. Run in the direction you were going.
The correct answer is: b. Turn around and run the opposite direction. It’s a lot faster and a lot easier for a person to turn around than a large vehicle. Therefore, if you see someone is shadowing you in a car, you should simply turn and walk the other direction. Cross the street if you have to, but never near the car. Never, ever take a ride with a stranger! And don’t initiate conversation with them, either.
(Source: Escape School by Bob Stuber)