Keep yourself and your children safe from a kidnapper - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Keep yourself and your children safe from a kidnapper

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KENNEWICK, Wash.-- When an attacker strikes it's important to know how to defend yourself and prevent them from taking you away to another location.

I found out you need to take different approaches based on your surroundings and whether you're able to physically fight back.

Former kidnapping victim Elizabeth Smart visited Pasco earlier this week to speak about her own struggle and the importance of teaching children how to fight.

So I looked into the key things you need to know to stay safe.

"Instead of telling the children, oh don't cross the street without looking, don't talk to strangers, don't get in the car. Instead of telling them what not to do we should start telling them what to do," said Smart.

Elizabeth Smart was taken from her bed at knife point and did not fight back because she was afraid of kidnapper's verbal threats. Now she's working to teach kids to put up a fight.

Kelly Abken from Domestic Violence Services in Kennewick, said children need to get aggressive against the kidnapper.

"Tell children to fight. Fight, yell, scream, make a scene. Have the biggest tantrum they've ever had in their life and that will get the attention of other adults in the area," Abken said.

Abken said kids need to know it's okay to say no to an adult and act out to stay safe when they know something is wrong.

"The more difficult it is for an abductor to get ahold of a child, they will abandon their attempts because they don't want to get caught," Abken said.

For adults that can physically defend themselves but aren't in a public place where other's could hear them.. It may be more effective to briefly let the attacker think you're giving in and then when they're calm, fight back.

"Beg please don't hurt me. I'll go. I'll give in. That will somewhat calm them down. Let them think. Once that approach is there then you can defend yourself," said David Mohan, self defense instructor at Ferocity Fitness.

The best places to hit an attacker are the pressure points, like the nose, thumb, groin and along the center of their body. One of the most important things you can do is to not panic.

"You have to have the confidence you can do these things, the defense things. And also know the pressure points where to hit, where to strike," Mohan said.

To avoid getting into these situations, people should always be aware of your surroundings. Try to stay in public places where others can see you and keep an eye out for possible escape routes. Also, things like smartphones and Ipods may be popular but they're also distracting and they could make you a target.

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