Source: Haut-Risque/Unsplash

In 1979, 6-year-old Etan Patz disappeared while walking to his school bus stop in lower Manhattan. And then, in 1981 with the disappearance of Adam Walsh, the nation froze. Missing children’s photos appeared on milk cartons for kids to look at while they ate bowls of breakfast cereal. Restrictions around what children could and could not do changed.

Even before those unnerving and highly publicized events, I wrote a short booklet, “Ice Cream Isn’t Always Good,” based on a local news report of a strange man in a blue car near my stepchildren’s elementary school. The booklet was distributed nationally by police and schools, and to parents. It subsequently became the book Never Say Yes to a Stranger: What Your Child Must Know to Stay Safe and has been in print in different formats for decades. The stories and…

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