Child safety is on every parent’s mind these days. The Casey Anthony case and the story of the Brooklyn boy who went missing and was found brutally murdered have parents hugging their children a little tighter at night.
Would you know what to do if your child disappeared? I come from a family of police officers — so when I was a kid knowing what to do in an emergency was second nature to us. But for those of you without a cop for a father…here’s a little insight from another former police officer and author, Carole Moore.
What Every Parent Needs to Know About Their Child
by Carole Moore
It’s almost impossible to understate the role time plays when a child goes missing. Could you instantly provide police with everything they need to look for your child if he or she disappeared? If you’re like most people, the answer is no.
The U.S. Department of Justice says that in an average year about 800,000 children are reported missing. The good news is that the vast majority of them turn up alive and safe. Your best strategy is to be prepared, even if the odds are on your side.
Here’s what experts say you should have at a minimum to be prepared for the unthinkable:
- Have current, high-quality color photos of your child. Take both front and profile views.
- Make a video of your child. Keep it current.
- Determine that your child knows his name, address and your telephone number.
- Teach your child how to call you. That means physically dialing your number, not hitting one button on a cell phone.
- Make sure your child’s dentist maintains up-to-date dental records. Keep track of where your child’s medical records are located.
- Keep a DNA sample. One easy way to do this: Swab the inside of your child’s mouth with a clean, dry cotton swab, then store the swab in a brown paper envelope kept in a cool, dry place.
- Record your child’s physical description in detail and keep it current. It also helps to maintain a list of his favorite television shows, toys, music, games and food preferences.
- Make certain you know all of your child’s friends, their addresses and their phone numbers. You’d be surprised at how many parents of teens don’t have this information.
Carole Moore is a former police officer and the author of “The Last Place You’d Look: True Stories of Missing Persons and the People Who Search for Them.” Check out her website at www.CaroleMoore.com