Perceptions of the risk of child abduction or loss and the utility of child electronic security devices

Child Care Health Dev. 1997 Sep;23(5):415-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.1997.tb00908.x.


Perceptions of the susceptibility of young children to becoming lost or being abducted, and of the potential usefulness of child electronic security devices, were examined via a questionnaire. Data were provided by 41 volunteers, most of them from a local government office centre. The questionnaire asked for demographic data, and then for the risk of a child being abducted or lost when under the supervision of different caregivers and in different situations. The probable effectiveness of three common abductor ploys was also addressed. The questionnaire concluded with 10 questions about child electronic security devices. Respondents viewed mothers, fathers, and grandparents as equally responsible caregivers and young adults/babysitters as the least responsible. These effects diminished as the age of the children increased. The garden at home was judged to be the most secure environment for children of all ages, while an amusement park was judged the least secure environment. Children were perceived to be more at risk of an abduction when a stranger asked for physical assistance or to take them to the hospital because their parents were hurt, than when asked for directions. Furthermore, the respondents expressed a moderately strong need for child electronic security devices, and viewed parents who use them as more responsible than those who do not.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Caregivers
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child Welfare / psychology*
  • Crime / prevention & control
  • Crime / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Electronics / instrumentation*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parents
  • Protective Devices / standards*
  • Protective Devices / supply & distribution
  • Risk Assessment
  • Safety*