Archive for the ‘kids self defense success’ Category

How to Save Your Child’s Life

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Yesterday, in-store video from a Wal-Mart near Atlanta, Georgia went viral. It showed a strange man picking up a 7-year-old girl in an aisle of the toy department. It then showed that same little girl kicking and yelling and creating such a huge ruckus that the man put her down–and ran away! For those of you who haven’t seen that video, here it is: Girl Fights Off Kidnapper in Wal-Mart

Kudos to that young lady for doing exactly the right thing at exactly the right time. How did she know what to do in such a frightening situation? And how did she have the presence of mind to do it? Simple: her parents enrolled her in a Kids Safety class. It may have been radKIDS, or it might have been another class given by an agency that teaches similar principles. But the day her parents brought her to that first class, they saved her life. She learned that Bad Guys hate noise, and often demand that their victims stay quiet. She also learned not to listen to Bad Guys, but to yell long and loud for help.

She learned that no one is allowed to hurt her, and if someone tries to, she can make them stop. The Bad Guy held her arms, so she used her legs to kick him repeatedly as hard as she could–while she was still yelling. He realized almost immediately that he was not going to get away with this child. He put her down and fled (and was arrested by local law enforcement a short time later).

By using what she had learned in that safety class to escape this man’s hold, she saved her life again. He was on parole, having just been released from prison for killing a man. You can be sure his intentions toward this innocent, little girl were not honorable. Nor was he likely to let her go, knowing she could identify him to police.

Several parents contacted me after this video hit the news. They wanted to know how soon they could get their own kids into a radKIDS class, just on the outside chance that some predator might approach them when Mom’s or Dad’s back was turned. I gave them the information they wanted. Most thanked me and set about making room in their child’s schedule for the 4 weekly sessions that a radKIDS course meets.

But, after I’d finished telling one mom about all we teach, all the situations we cover, and the physical skills we give the kids, she shrugged and said, “Well, we’ll think about it.” She explained that her daughter already had a very busy schedule, what with gymnastics, piano lessons, and dance class.

Now, all those activities are fun, and can be life-enhancing. A radKIDS class is also fun, and can be life-saving. Parents must decide what’s best for their children, and certainly, sports and the arts are important. But the life-skills learned in a radKIDS class–personal empowerment, the ability to make decisions, and the choosing of a clear strategy (not to mention how to deliver a good, solid punch to the nose)–can help a kid in situations when no cartwheel, no arpeggio, no pirouette can.

911 Call Can Save Your Child’s Life – Or Yours

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

In Norwalk, California, 3 attackers entered a family home, pointed guns at the parents, and declared their intentions to take whatever they wanted. The 7-year-old boy and his 6-year-old sister hid in a bathroom upstairs. From there, the boy (whose first name is Carlos) called 911 and told the dispatcher that someone “is going to kill my mom and dad” and to “bring cops–a lot of them!”

The suspects discovered the children in the bathroom and demanded to know who they had called. When Carlos answered, “911,” they realized that police were on the way and they ran–without stealing anything but, more important, without hurting anyone.

One of the first things we do in my radKIDS classes is teach the children how to call 911. We tell them it’s a special phone number for them to use if they’re ever in danger or see something dangerous. It’s an important skill for your child to know, because one day they might have to report a fire at a neighbor’s house or a car accident down the street. They could even save your life.

I’ve had parents come up to me at radKIDS and say,”I’m so glad you covered this! I wanted them to know how to call 911, but I was worried we’d actually end up calling the police to our house.” So, how best to educate your child in using their special, emergency-only number?

If you use your home phone, can you be sure to hang up before the call actually goes through to 911?  Having 2 or 3 squad cars pull up in front of your house for a false alarm is one way to show your kids that calling 911 will bring the police–but it may end up taking law enforcement resources away from a legitimate crisis. (Not to mention the fact that the officers themselves probably won’t find much humor in the situation.)

You could “borrow” your 3-year-old’s toy phone. But then, no matter what number is dialed, the response will be a pre-recorded, childlike voice enthusiastically saying something akin to, “Hi! Wanna come over and play with me?”

Not very good for a sense of realism, or the seriousness you want your child to take away from the exercise. Okay, then, how about no phone at all? You can just tell them what numbers to push and what to say.

Well, it’s better than nothing, and a lot of kids learn about 911 this way. But it’s best to make “practice” as much like “real life” as possible. So forget the imaginary phone and the toy phone. And, so you don’t end up with a cul-de-sac full of emergency vehicles for your efforts, try this:

Use a real phone, but take out the battery. Practicing with both cell and land-line phones is best because they require pushing different buttons in a different order (Send after dialing, or Talk before dialing). Have your kids push the numbers as if they were truly calling in an emergency. You can play the role of the Dispatch Operator and ask them questions (type of emergency, their name, age, location, is anyone with them, etc.), just like the Dispatcher would in a real call. Knowing what to expect will build their confidence so they won’t be afraid to call for help in case of an actual emergency.

Young Carlos confirmed that he was able to keep his wits about him when making the call because his mother used to have him practice calling 911, “just in case.” Clearly, her lessons paid off. Los Angeles County 911 Dispatcher Monique Patino, who took his call and sent the police, described him as her “little hero.”

Safe!

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009
One of the first things my supervisor told us when we showed up for radKIDS Instructor training was, “We’ve had 31 saves. Thirty-one kids who took the radKIDS class later found themselves face to face with an abductor. Each of them used what they learned in radKIDS to escape and get help.”

In that training class, I learned that within the first few hours of a kidnapping, a child is most likely injured and sexually abused. Before 24 hours has passed, that child has probably been killed by his or her captor. So, it’s not a far reach to say that what those kids learned in the radKIDS program helped save their lives.

That was 2 and a half years ago. radKIDS is now happy to report 62 documented saves from abduction, and thousands more from molestation, abuse, and violence. This makes me proud but, even more, grateful. I’m proud to be a part of a program I consider a gift: to parents, to children, to everyone who loves children and recognizes how special they are, how full of potential, how vital to our hearts, our lives and, of course, our world.

But more, I’m grateful to have something tangible to offer parents and kids–something that’s proven, that really works. Thanks to the police officers and child safety experts who designed this program, we’re able to empower kids to trust their gut, make smart choices, and know that no one has the right to hurt them. Because when they know that, they can use what they’ve learned in class to escape from danger and get help. To save themselves when no one else can.


Equip Your Kids for Real-Life Trouble

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

In the news, a sexual predator in Philadelphia followed a teenage girl into her school and attempted to rape her. He had been walking closely behind the 15-year-old for over 4 blocks–security cameras at neighborhood businesses tracked his movements–and then grabbed her once she entered the school. Her screams as he began to expose himself alerted a dean who rushed to the girl’s aid and removed the man from the building.

It can be hard for a decent, law-abiding citizen to realize just how brazen some sexual predators’ behavior can be. They don’t always hide in the bushes, waiting to jump on an unsuspecting victim. Rather, they engage in inappropriate to downright dangerous and unlawful behavior right out in public, in broad daylight. Therefore, keeping your young daughter safe at home after dark, or letting your children play outside only on your street may not be enough. What will happen when they leave the borders of the safe world you’ve cordoned off for them? When they head to the store with a friend on an errand, or when they walk to school in the morning?

Jails are overcrowded and sexual offenders are often slapped on the wrist and released. So, it’s vital that we, as parents, find ways to make our kids as safe as possible. We can teach them that no one has the right to hurt them, and that they’re worth fighting for. We can help them learn how to immediately determine a safe place to run to, where there’s an adult they can trust to help them. And we can give them the physical skills needed to break an attacker’s hold on them so they can get to that safe place. Kids safety and self-defense classes like radKIDS aren’t “extras” anymore. They’re essential, because stories like this one from Philadelphia happen everywhere, every day. Child molesters and rapists are stalking their next victims. And no child should be up for grabs.

Because of Adam Walsh

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Host of America’s Most Wanted John Walsh and his wife, Reve, stood with police in Hollywood, Florida as they officially brought to a close the case of the abduction and murder of Adam Walsh. Florida Police named pedophile and serial killer Ottis Toole as the 6-year-old boy’s murderer. (Toole died in prison for a different crime in 1996.) But, because of the love, courage, and sheer strength of the Walsh family, Adam’s light still shines.

The Adam Walsh Outreach Center for Missing Children in Washington, DC came into existence because of the life and spirit of this little boy. It has since merged with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to become the greatest resource center for child protection in the United States.

The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, signed into law in 2006 by President George W. Bush, protects children against sexual and other violent crimes, child pornography, and Internet dangers.

And Adam’s dad, John Walsh, hosts one of television’s longest-running programs, America’s Most Wanted. Because of his son, Walsh and his viewers have been able to assist law enforcement in the capture of over 1,000 dangerous fugitives in the last 20 years.

Many of us just shake our heads, unable to comprehend the horror a murderous pedophile wrought upon this family nearly 30 years ago. No logic, no reasoning, no cosmic justice can make sense of, or offer adequate reparation for, the violent destruction of a child. John and Reve’s amazing example of resiliency, their flat-out refusal to be crushed by evil, is something we can all be grateful for. In John’s own words, they “spiraled into hell” when their only child was killed. But, somehow, they survived and endured. And forced evil to give way to good. Children are safer today because Adam Walsh lived.