A new study just released by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC)
found 70 percent of attempted abductions, related crimes or suspicious incidents involving individuals unknown to children occurred on school days. Data also showed school-age children were most likely to be targeted during the two hours before and after school.
The findings provide a timely reminder to parents, caregivers and educators that back-to-school season can be a dangerous time for students and that open and consistent communication can be the key to keeping kids safe. Students need to be aware of their surroundings and know who to trust. That's where the KidSmartz® educational program comes into play
KidSmartz was developed in partnership with Honeywell Hometown Solutions
, the company's corporate citizenship program, and NCMEC. KidSmartz provides free materials to help parents and teachers educate youngsters in kindergarten through fifth grade.
"We know these are often crimes of opportunity," said John F. Clark, NCMEC President and CEO. "These offenders take advantage of the moments when they have easiest access to children. That's why helping kids make safer and smarter decisions when faced with potential danger is so important. While we don't want parents or children to live in fear, we want them to take action to educate and prepare themselves."
The NCMEC data collected over 10 years determined offenders are most likely to attempt to lure elementary-aged children by offering rides, asking for help looking for lost animals or enticing potential victims with food or candy.
Launched in 2014, KidSmartz helps educate families about abduction prevention and deals specifically with common tricks of predators. Students are empowered to practice safe behaviors, thanks in part to the "Four Rules of Personal Safety," including:
1. Check first.
2. Take a friend.
3. Tell people "NO."
4. Tell a trusted adult.
"The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is uniquely positioned to provide insight on child safety, and Honeywell is proud of our long-term partnership to make children safer," said Mike Bennett, President, Honeywell Hometown Solutions. "The KidSmartz program is based on a real understanding of when, where and how children may be at risk, and we want all children nationwide to have access to this potentially life-saving information as they head back to school."
Teachers and parents can reinforce KidSmartz objectives by downloading free program materials - such as quizzes, activities, music and videos - from www.KidSmartz.org
KidSmartz is made possible by generous donations from Honeywell and its employees who invest annually in this important initiative. Abduction prevention, and keeping children safe, is a top priority to Honeywell and its employees.