Tips to protect your kids during a hijacking

By admin
18 August 2014

Recent horrifying incidents of children caught in hijackings have shocked parents around the country. Here are 10 practical tips to prevent or handle such a situation.

For six days, South Africans waited anxiously for news of the safe return of little Mongezi Phike, and then we mourned the murder of four-year-old Taegrin Morris – both innocent victims of South Africa’s violent crime of hijacking. It’s inconceivable to imagine the pain and suffering of the parents of these children and the ordeals they’ve faced.

These two cases have left South Africans in a state of shock, terrified of being hijacked with their children in the car. As a result vehicle tracking and stolen vehicle recovery specialist Cartrack says it’s been inundated with calls from concerned parents requesting guidance on how to deal with exactly this type of situation.

While the reality of such a situation is frightening it may be a good idea to role-play the situation with your family and talk them through how to respond and remain calm, if your children are old enough. It’s very important to know how hijackers operate, how to avoid being hijacked and what to do if you’re confronted with a hijacking scenario.

Some practical advice on preventing (and handling) a hijacking situation:

  1. Always be aware of what’s happening around you.
  2. Statistically you’re more likely to be hijacked between 4 pm and 8 pm, especially on a Friday, and most hijackings occur in the victim’s driveway.
  3. It’s important to realise there’s often nothing you can do other than to cooperate.
  4. If, for whatever reason, a hijacking is unavoidable and you’re forced to exit your vehicle while a small child is still strapped to a baby seat, take the car keys with you as a “bargaining” tool.
  5. As difficult as it may sound, try and remain calm as the hijacker will respond according to your reaction.
  6. Acknowledge the hijacker’s presence but don’t make eye contact, and keep your hands visible.
  7. Avoid getting out of the car first and then opening the back door to get your child out.
  8. Make sure your child’s car seat is positioned behind the front passenger seat so you can reach back, undo your child’s safety belt and bring them out with you when you exit the vehicle.
  9. If your children are old enough, make sure the child lock mechanisms on the rear doors of your vehicle are off and instruct your children how to undo their safety belts and exit the car and move away to safety.
  10. At all times, let hijackers know what you’re doing and don’t make any sudden moves.

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