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Transporting Children Safely: What to do in a Hijacking

  • Never leave children in a car unattended with or without car keys


  • Always take children with you, if you get out the car. Even if it’s only for a few minutes.


  • Do not engage child-lock, this makes it more difficult to open the door in an emergency. Discuss a hijacking safety plan with your children, and make sure that they know what to do, should you ever land in this situation. Try to teach them to remain calm and not get hysterical, as this will only aggravate an already anxious hijacker. If put in this situation, you need to instruct your children calmly, but firmly.


  • If a hijacker is at your vehicle and you need to get a small child or infant out of the backseat, tell the hijacker in a calm but firm voice that you are now going to open the door to get your child. If the child is small enough you can unclip them from the infant seat and pull them towards you at the front.


  • If you’re travelling with one child, ensure they’re sitting directly behind you and not in the left rear seat. If you are hijacked it will be easier to help your child get of the car if they’re sitting on the right-hand side. This will save you time by not having to run around to the opposite side of the car.


  • If you have a central locking system, remember to open all doors before getting out of the car and handing the keys over to the hijacker. This will allow you to open your rear passenger doors and get your children out while the hijacker is getting into the driving seat.


  • Don’t keep your key in your pocket (if you have a keyless start car), as the hijacker may think you are reaching for a firearm when you put your hand into your pocket to get your keys.


  • Keep your key in the arm rest or somewhere close by. Your key is your bargaining tool which buys you time to get your child or children out while the hijacker gets into the car & starts it up.


  • When you’re outside the vehicle try not to face the hijacker and turn your body sideways, with your shoulder facing him, where possible. This prevents your vital organs from being in the line of fire should the hijacker shoot at you.


  • Turning your body sideways also allows you to focus on your children in the rear seats of the vehicle.
  • Follow the hijackers instructions, remain as calm as possible and don’t interact with them unless you have to, such as making it clear what movements you’re about to make.


  • If possible, always put a baby seat on the left side of the backseat and have the bigger child sitting in the seat directly behind you. This will make it easier for you to reach back and pull your baby out of the seat in an emergency situation.


  • Remember that the objective is to get away from your car and the hijacker as fast as possible. It is far better that your child has a bruise or two from being pulled from the car than being driven away by a hijacker.
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