90 seconds: That’s how long it takes for a stranger to walk off with your child

Terrifying new experiment reveals just how easy it is for a stranger to abduct your child...


by Kayleigh Dray |
Published on

It's every parent's worst nightmare, which is why we spend so much of our time convincing our children never to talk to strangers.

But, thanks to a chilling new experiment by Daybreak, it's been revealed that the majority of children will allow themselves to be led away from their parents by someone they've never met before. And, on average, it takes just 90 seconds for that stranger to convince your little one that they should leave with them.

Watch the footage for yourself:

It's frighteningly easy, isn't it?

Of the 9 children involced in the experiemnt (don't worry, their parents had consented and were fully aware of what was happening), only 2 chose to remain in the playground and wait for a grown up they recognised to return.

Most of the children were younger than 10 and would not normally be allowed out of the house on their own, but, as you've seen, one 11-year-old walked off with the man before realising her mistake and returning to her mother.

And, while one seven-year-old boy initially refused to leave with the stranger, he changed his mind within 45 seconds.

All of the children had been warned about "stranger danger", but, for many, it seemed as if they expected a dangerous stranger to appear scary or overpowering. They were disarmed by the friendly, polite gentleman who, rather than asking them to go off with him, asked them to help him look for a lost child or dog.

One of the mothers involved in the experiment said: "If the adult that's with them is distracted, it so easily could happen that they'd walk off with them."

"I don't think there's enough education out there for young children. They need to be more aware of different situations that they could come across."

Do your children know how to stay safe?
Do your children know how to stay safe?

Kidscape, who worked with Daybreak to perform the important experiment, said in a statement: "Daybreak's investigation has highlighted the potential consequences of our children not being taught appropriate ways of keeping safe in situations involving strangers."

"Many important messages and skills need to be taught and practised from toddler years to teens. We have a duty to send our children safely into the world. The findings from this investigation help us to meet this important challenge."


  • It doesn't matter what they say to you, you should never talk to strangers

  • If they ask you to help them look for a dog or child, tell them to ask a grown up for help

  • A stranger can be a man or woman, they can be young or old, it doesn't matter - anyone you don't know is a big fat no-no

  • Never take sweets, presents, or lifts from people you don't know

  • Never go up to a car to give directions - keep away so that no one can get hold of you and you can run away

  • If something bad does happen to you, even if you have broken a rule, you should tell me about it and I will help sort things out

  • If someone tries to touch or grab you, shout “NO”, get away as fast as you can and then tell an adult

  • Practise the KIDSCAPE rule: “Yell, Run, Tell”

  • Remember, if someone frightens you, it is okay to break ru les, shout or make a fuss.Always run towards shops or places with people

  • If you think that you are being followed, go into a shop or knock on the door of a house and ask for help

  • Arrange to have a family codeword. Tell your child that if anyone ever tries to collect them for you, the person will always know the codeword. “No Code, No Go”

  • Most paedophiles are not strangers. Tell children that if anyone, even someone they know, touches them in a confusing or frightening way they should tell you

The children and parents who took part in the Daybreak experiment underwent psychological checks, the playground was under constant surveillance and closed off to the public at all times and, most importatly, all the staff on site - including the 'predator' - had passed CRB checks.

Do you think your child would say no to a stranger if asked for help? Do you have any tips for teaching children how to stay safe on their own? LEt us know in the comments box below.

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