For a parent, no thought is scarier than child abduction.
We teach our kids about the potential dangers of people they don't know, and we hammer into them a warning that they NEVER walk away with a stranger, but do they listen?
“Raising America with Kyra Phillips” put kids to the test. What you will see on Friday, August 2 at 12 p.m. ET will shock you to the core.
One of our producers brought his dog to an Atlanta playground. He engaged with 20 children, attempting to get them to follow him to his vehicle. Many did. One even crawled into a dog crate in the back of the car.
HLN was given permission to conduct the test on every child involved. The parents understood that our objective was not to exploit their family, but rather to put their practices to the test and open up a stronger line of communication.
Rebecca Bailey, the therapist to kidnapping survivor Jaycee Dugard, strongly endorses this kind of testing in her book, "Safe Kids, Smart Parents: What Parents Need to Know to Keep Their Children Safe." Bailey suggests that parents avoid the words "stranger danger," opting for the phrase "people who you don't know" when discussing best safety practices.
“The words 'stranger danger' are somewhat out of vogue these days,” she said in an interview with HLN. “What it connotes is someone that looks totally different, maybe the toothless people you see on TV as an abductor. You want kids to know that it’s not necessarily like that.”
Bailey said parents must do more than just talk about safety procedures, they should test them, too.
"Kids are in the moment and word of a puppy is like a shiny object. They’re not really thinking with part of their mind… because critical judgment hasn’t developed yet. They’re instantly thinking, ‘Oh puppy,’” she said. “I’m glad you guys are doing this, because we do know that experiential learning helps people do things and learn things in a different way. So my guess is that any of these kids that went probably will never do that ever again.”
So what exactly can you do to ensure your child will not walk away when they see a puppy? And if they do get into a terrible situation, are there any techniques that could set them free? We’ll discuss in a live, one-hour special August 1 on HLN at 12 p.m. ET.