LAYTON -- When children are abducted, if they do nothing to get noticed, they have a 3 percent chance of surviving. If they make noise, if they fight back, then their chances jump to 53 percent, Layton Police Detective Dan Gardner said.
Gardner is an instructor for radKIDS, a program created to instill in young children the need to defend themselves and avoid a dangerous situation involving an adult they don't know.
Layton's radKIDS were able to demonstrate the practical skills they learned in the weeklong class to their parents at a ceremony Thursday afternoon at Adams Elementary School.
The kids, ages 7 to 12, showed off a variety of self-defense moves to escape a stranger meaning to do them harm.
Such moves included headbutting, sweep kicking, hammer punches and eye poking. They learned to do these moves in different scenarios where a stranger may approach or grab them.
Most importantly, they need to be loud, Gardner said.
"It's crucial that they make a lot of noise," he said. If they're noticed, it's more likely that the abductor will abandon plans to take the child, he said.
Abductors are most successful when the child remains quiet and submissive.
Parents were pleased to see their kids having fun and learning practical skills at a summer program.
"Knowing they have the skills to protect themselves ... I can rest easier," said Sheri Eppich, who has two sons enrolled in the program.
Riley, 9, and Dakota, 11, said among their favorite moves were the sweep kicks and "eye poppers."
Riley said he feels confident and ready if there's ever a real situation in which he comes face to face with a dangerous stranger.
For a final demonstration, Detective Wes McKinney donned red body armor and played the part of an abductor. The kids' task was to use their newly learned skills to escape his grasp and make it to a safe zone.
Arianne Arvayl, 12, fiercely kicked and screamed to break free of the "stranger's" grip. She said the most important thing she learned was to draw attention to the situation.
Each student had the chance to demonstrate, and nearly all of them yelled key words, such as "No," and "You're not my dad."
Gardner said at the beginning of the course, many of the kids were timid and reluctant to shout at the top of their lungs.
RadKIDS is a national program that started in 1998. It was a spinoff of radWomen, a self-defense course for women.
Layton has been running a local program since 2010 and teaches about 1,100 to 1,300 kids a year. All of the detectives involved are certified instructors. The program also teaches kids other lessons, such as fire safety and bully prevention.
Amber Ohrn found the program online and signed up her two 8-year-olds.
"I really appreciate the physical aspect of the class and the realism," Ohrn said. "You can't prepare them for all the scenarios that can happen, but they provide a good variety to give them the confidence."
Eppich said she is glad to know that if her kids were put in a serious situation, rather than freeze up, they can have the confidence to fight back and flee, so they can come home safe.