I logged into Facebook this morning and saw a post warning parents to stay with their children at the bus stop after an attempted child abduction in our area yesterday. This brought me back to the 20/20 episode I watched last night on the 1989 abduction of Jacob Wetterling . This morning I feel it is important to blog about building a child ID kit.
Roughly 2000 children go missing in the US every day. Every.Single.Day. That is one child every 40 seconds. Thankfully, parents can breath a sigh of relief. The overwhelming majority of kidnappings are by family members and 99 percent of abductions committed by a family member or acquaintances result in reunification of child and parent. – See more at: http://children-laws.laws.com/child-abduction/abduction-statistics#sthash.gl3rASft.dpuf
Making a child ID kit may not seem like something I would blog about on The Joyful Homemaker but I believe it is important to have one in every home. A child ID kit is critical in the event one’s child goes missing. It is important to have this and as much information as possible to present to law enforcement at the time of a child’s disappearance. In the event of a stranger abduction, law enforcement has the best chance of finding a missing or abducted child in the first three hours of the incident. This does not give a lot of time. A child ID kit can help during those critical first hours. It helps to have everything in one place.
To build a child ID kit grab a box and label it with your child’s name. I suggest using a small, fire-proof lock box. You should have as much of the following in the box as possible. I went directly to the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children website to ensure I provide the most accurate information. Their website is www.missingchildren.com
There should be a photograph(s) of your child meeting the below criteria:
- Color photo
- Show full face with as much facial detail as possible.
- Have a dozen of the same photo in print. Have the same image in an accessible, digital format as well.
- Be sure to update every six months.
It is good to have a quick, printed description of your child. One you can hand directly to law enforcement.
- Child’s Name
- Any nicknames
- Date of Birth
- Hair color and length
- Eye color
- Glasses and/or braces
- Identifying marks or scars
- Any tattoos or piercings
- Any health issues such as allergies, etc.
Dental X-Rays, Charting, and Bite Impressions
“Dental X-rays, professional dental charting and bite impressions or tooth prints are often useful to law enforcement in resolving missing children cases. You should update dental charts every two years until your child is 18. Check with your child’s dentist to determine if this service is offered.
In addition you may choose to have bite impressions made using plastic foam such as StyrofoamTM. Take a two-inch square plastic foam and have your child bite partially through it. The bite should be strong enough to leave an impression of the upper and lower teeth. A new bite sample should be made each time your child loses or grows a tooth. This sample should be stored in a safe and readily accessible place.” – Italicized information pulled directly from http://www.missingkids.com/ChildID
Obtaining a DNA sample from your child is critical. You can purchase a kit online or simply make one yourself. An old toothbrush, baby teeth, some hair, or an olde bandage work well. “These items should be placed in a brown envelope licked shut by your child. The envelope should be labeled and stored in a cool, dry and readily accessible place.” –– Italicized information pulled directly from http://www.missingkids.com/ChildID
The DNA sample can be stored inside your child ID kit and placed in a cool, dry, place. It is beneficial to have everything in one place.
It is easy enough to take your child to local law enforcement for fingerprinting. You can also ask your child’s school if they provide fingerprinting service days or are having an event. When I was a child, our school had a law enforcement officer fingerprint on behalf of parents. I have also seen fingerprinting at local events at fairs, churches, and child safety clinics. After the prints are taken by a professional, they can easily be stored in your kit. Do not allow any organization to retain your child’s fingerprints.
A parent can very easily design and make an ID for their child to carry in their backpack, one for each parent, one for caregivers (such as daycare) and one for their kit. Simply laminate their photo (a school photo works well) and some information into an ID sized card. Ensure their gender, weight, height, age, date of birth, and parental information is on the card. There are also companies that produce cards. http://www.kidsafeid.com/index.php is one of them.
While it may seem like a lot of work or an extreme measure, a child ID kit is a valuable tool to have in one’s home. It provides quick access to information in the event your child is missing.
As parents we can never be too safe and never say never. Children do go missing and even though our children are statistically safe, I believe having a kit is important, even if simply for peace of mind.
The Joyful Homemaker