Four attempted abductions of children in the past week in the Seattle area may make parents more cautious when letting their children to play outdoors, even in their own backyards.

Police are searching for a masked man who attempted to snatch a three-year-old boy from the yard of a White Center home Sunday night. As the boy s family prepared for a barbecue, a man grabbed the boy and began running. The boy s mother chased the man and jumped on her son to protect him.The man kicked and punched her before running away.

So far we have not been able to locate anyone that saw anything, said Sgt. Cindi West, King County Sheriff's Office spokesperson.

There was also a failed kidnapping attempt earlier on Sunday at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure at Seattle Center, as well as an attempted abduction last Wednesday when a woman tried to take a two-and-a-half-year-old from Mary Place s shelter in Seattle. Both suspects were taken into custody.

Most recently, a man attempted to break into a car in Queen Anne where a four-year-old was waiting for his mother on Monday.

We don t believe there s any connection, said Sgt. Sean Whitcomb of the Seattle Police Department.

These recent attempted abductions serve as reminders for parents to watch their children carefully, especially during the summer months when more children are playing outside. Whitcomb reviewed several guidelines for parents, including:

  • Do not leave young children alone in cars. Whitcomb said children under 12 are too young to be left on their own.
  • Discuss with children what to do in different situations with strangers.
  • Teach children to run in the opposite direction, away from a potential abductor and his or her car, and to put up a fight and make noise if grabbed.
  • Explain to children that both men and women could potentially be abductors.
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