Tag Archives: Dangerous Environment

Keep Your Children Safe

.jpg photo of NCMEC Logo
Child Safety is more than a slogan

CHILD SAFETY IS MORE THAN A SLOGAN

“Stranger-Danger” Warnings Not Effective at Keeping Kids Safer

By Nancy A. McBride, National Safety Director
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children®
www.missingkids.com

Stranger danger” — the phrase is so pervasive in our culture it has become part of the lexicon.  The media and other professionals often use this phrase as a slogan to try to educate children about how to avoid dangerous situations and individuals.  When well-intentioned professionals and parents/guardians use the phrase “stranger danger” it may mistakenly convey only strangers harm children.  The message of “never talk to strangers” does not fully educate children about how to stay safer.

What does “stranger danger” really mean, and do children benefit from an outdated and misleading message?

Here’s what we have learned about the “stranger-danger” concept.

  • Children don’t get it
  • Adults don’t practice it
  • Children need to know how to recognize and avoid potentially dangerous situations
  • Adults need to know risks to children are greater from someone they know

This is why the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) does not support the “strangerdanger” message.  The majority of cases have shown most children are not taken by a stranger, but rather are abducted by someone they know.

When questioned, children will often describe a “stranger” as someone who is “ugly or mean.”  They do not perceive attractive or friendly people as “strangers.”  If someone talks to a child or is even around a child more than once, that person may lose his or her “stranger” status to the child.  The child may then think he or she
“knows” that person.  Children also want to be helpful, thrive on adult approval, and respond to adult authority.

So if someone with ill intent asks a child to perform a task or tells a child something has happened to a loved one, there is a good chance the child may be tricked into going with that person.

The “stranger-danger” message becomes even more confusing for children because they may not be able to tell by looking at someone whether that individual is “good” or “bad.”  Wouldn’t it be great if we could simply recognize and point out the “bad” people to our children?  Adults often break the rule of “don’t talk to strangers”
in a number of different situations.  Adults, however, have the benefit of experience, judgment, and decision making skills.  Children do not.  And even adults, at times, may misperceive potential dangers.  So if we are not always able to identify “bad” people, we certainly cannot expect our children to be able to do so.

Children need to be empowered with positive messages and safety skills that will not only build their self-esteem and self-confidence but also help keep them safer. Children need to learn how to recognize and avoid potentially dangerous situations.  If they become involved in a dangerous situation, children need to learn
effective steps they can take to remove themselves from the situation.  Children do not need to be told the world is a scary place. They see it through a variety of media, hear it from adults, or may even personally experience violence.  Children need to know their parents, guardians, or other trusted adults — people whom the parents/guardians have come to rely on and with whom they and their children feel comfortable — are there for them if they are in trouble.  Children also need to know the majority of adults in their lives are good people.

When we tell children to “never talk to strangers,” we have effectively eliminated a key source of help for them.  If they are lost they may be surrounded by many rescuers who could help them.   If children perceive these people as “strangers,” they may not speak or reach out to them.  There have been cases in which a child’s rescue was delayed because the lost child was afraid to call out to the “strangers” when rescuers were nearby.  Parents and guardians cannot be with their children every second of the day.  We need to give our children “safety nets,” the plans and people you’ve put in place to contact so your children know there is always someone available to help them.  These individuals may include uniformed law-enforcement or security officers and store/business personnel wearing nametags.

The safety messages need to be tailored to specific circumstances, such as being lost outside.  Parents and guardians should teach children to:

  • Stay put and not wander away from where they first became lost. Staying where they are increases children’s chances of being found unless that place becomes too dangerous because of severe weather or another potentially threatening situation.  In that case children need to go to the nearest safe spot and wait for rescuers.
  • Make noise either by yelling, blowing a whistle, or attracting attention in some other way.  This may help bring someone to their rescue.

Parents and guardians should make child safety part of a child’s everyday life in a reassuring way by practicing these skills.  Whether it is checking first with a trusted adult, taking a friend, or avoiding and getting out of potentially dangerous situations, there are easy “what-if” scenarios you may practice with your children to make sure they understand and “get it.”  Make outings to a mall or the park a “teachable moment” to make sure your children understand the safety messages and are able to use them in real-life situations.

Children will begin to learn what to do if they become lost or are in danger by practicing these “what-if” scenarios with you on a regular basis.  You can also use these opportunities to reassure your children you are there for them, and remind them there are other people who also are able to help them.

NCMEC believes it is time for everyone to retire use of the “stranger-danger” message.  By realizing child safety
is much more than a slogan, we can then arm our children with relevant, age-appropriate messages to help empower and protect them from potentially dangerous situations.  Having strong parental, guardian, and caregiver supervision and attention is vital to keeping our children safer.

For more information about child-safety topics, visit our website at www.missingkids.com or contact us at 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678).

Copyright © 2005, 2010, and 2011 National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. All rights reserved.

This project was supported by Grant No. 2011-MC-CX-K001 awarded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of JusticeNational Center for Missing & Exploited Children® and 1-800-THE-LOST® are registered trademarks of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.  NCMEC Order PDF-10A.

NOTE: This is not the property of NOT IN MY WORLD!!!!, we are a self-supporting information center for parents, families, and the public, to help all children, who are the future of our world; by raising awareness to Child Abuse, and it’s lifelong detrimental effects.

We want to say THANK YOU to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and the U.S. Department of Justice for allowing us the use of so many resources to properly educate our staff, and also to pass along this valuable information and resources to Parents, Family, and the public.

AR Infant Nearly Eaten By Rats

.jpg photo of Parents of Rat Bitten Baby
Erica Shyrock, 19, and Charles Elliott, 18.

Baby found with nearly 100 rat bites,
parents charged

MAGNOLIA, AR  –  An Arkansas couple were arrested after their newborn baby was found to have between 75 and 100 rat bites.

Police were called to Magnolia Regional Medical Center after the baby girl was taken to the emergency room for treatment for the bites.

A nurse said the 15-day-old child weighed five pounds and had been bitten at least 100 times.

Police said that the baby had bites on her arms, fingers and face, with one bite on the baby’s forehead measuring about an inch wide with the skull visible.

Police identified the child’s parents as Erica Shyrock, 19, and Charles Elliott, 18.

Elliott’s mother said that her son told her that the child had been bitten by a mouse, but said he told her he was afraid the child would be taken away if he took the baby to the hospital.

Shyrock told police that she put the baby to sleep at 5:30 a.m. Sunday.  The baby woke her up screaming at 7:30 a.m. and she found the baby covered in blood.

Shyrock told police that both she and Elliott knew that there were rats in the home, but did nothing to get rid of them.

Elliott told police that he and Shyrock woke up at 5 a.m. to the baby crying and saw blood everywhere and rat footprints in the crib.   But he and Shyrock waited to take the baby to he hospital until his mother arrived around 9 a.m.

Both Elliott and Shyrock were arrested, charged with endangering the welfare of a minor in the first degree.

A Columbia County deputy prosecuting attorney said that new charges of permitting abuse of a minor with serious physical injury will be filed against the pair.  The new charge is a felony.

When police searched the home, they said they found the baby’s bassinet with rat footprints in blood, the baby’s hat covered in blood and rodent droppings on a nearby table.

Monday, the baby had facial reconstruction to repair the forehead injury.

Tuesday, doctors at Arkansas Children’s Hospital told police that the injuries were so severe that the bites would have taken hours and the baby would have been in distress during the time. 

The doctor told police that he believes that the parents were either not at the home or were so incapacitated that they were not able to respond. The doctor said he found 75 to 100 bites covering the child.

Children Subjected To Torture

.jpg photo of man that tortured Children
Joseph Myhre, 44

Montco Man Accused Of Child Abuse
Involving Pliers, Needles, Dog Shock Collar Facing Charges

LOWER PROVIDENCE TOWNSHIP, PA  –  A Montgomery County man is facing a long list of charges on allegations he beat and abused his children for years.

According to charging documents, 44-year-old Joseph Myhre, of Greensway Circle in Lower Providence Township, home schooled his two children.

In the documents, police said his 11-year-old daughter told them going back to when she was 4-or-5 years old, her father would hit her on the head with sticks or PVC pipes.  He would strangle her and beat her head on the ground until she entered into a “dream state.”

The girl said her father would squeeze her fingers with pliers, stick needles in her fingers and toes, and use a dog shock collar that she said would leave burn marks.

The 13-year-old son told investigators that Myhre would kick him the stomach, or hit him on his feet with a stick that would cause him to bleed.  According to the documents, the boy also told police Myhre would put the dog shock collar on the back of his leg or on his stomach, then walk around the room acting normal while the boy was being shocked and yelling in pain.

According to charging documents, the children had wooden boxes for beds with a small opening and vents to let in air.

Investigators said an audio recording was found on a phone.  The recording lasts 53 minutes.  In it, the affidavit says a male voice can be heard calmly talking while children are screaming in pain.  The male voice is quoted saying things like, “He doesn’t care, he didn’t give me a hug for 10 minutes,” and “You can blame your mom for this.”

The affidavit also says there were white boards in the living room of the home with messages described as “threatening and manipulative in nature.”

The child abuse allegations came to light after Myhre’s wife was hospitalized with a broken skull.  While investigating that case, police interviewed the children.

Investigators say when Myhre was questioned by police, he gave a written statement saying he grabbed his children by the neck and arms, and hit the children with sticks.  The documents say he told police the children never cried or told him they were in pain.

According to the affidavit, Myhre said he put vice grips on his daughter’s fingers but only “playing around” to feel what it felt like to grip our fingers.

In addition to previous charges based on the allegations from his wife, Myhre is now facing twelve-counts of aggravated assault of a child less than 13, four-counts of unlawful restraint of a child, two counts of endangering welfare of children, and numerous misdemeanors.

He’s in the county prison on 1-million dollars bail.