Thursday May 25th is National Missing Children’s Day. Since 1983, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has commemorated Missing Children’s Day with a ceremony honoring the efforts of agencies, organizations, and individuals to protect children.
At Diono, our daily focus is product innovation and providing the safest all-in-one convertible and booster seats for on-the-go families. But as parents, we know keeping our children safe goes far beyond car seats and cabinet locks. Young kids are bundles of boundless energy and curiosity, sometimes causing them to get distracted and potentially separated from family members. Most of these situations are resolved quickly and without incident (aside from the momentary heart failure when you realize one of your children has wandered off). However abductions, runaways and unexplained disappearances do occur and can happen to anyone. While it’s scary to even think about, we believe it is an important topic to tackle as we head into summer and a busy holiday weekend.
Local, State and Federal agencies work tirelessly to investigate and assist when a missing persons’ report is filed. Last year more than 647,000 reports of missing persons were entered into the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC). By December 31, 2016 only 13% of those reports remained active, though sadly youths account for 38% of those active missing persons.
How Technology Can Help
Since it launched 21 years ago, the AMBER alert system has helped rescue over 800 children. Social media shares and cell phone notifications expand the reach of each alert, increasing the odds someone will have seen something.
Visit MissingKids.com to learn how you can help.
Talk About Safety & Plan Ahead
There are a plethora of blog posts and YouTube videos highlighting various safety considerations for kids (playgrounds, bodies of water, choking, fire, medications), so we won’t attempt to summarize everything here. Talking to your children about safety and the world around them should become an on-going conversation that lasts well into their teens.
When leaving the house, consider the following safety tips:
- Use your phone to take a quick picture of each kid’s outfit on the way out the door. In the stress of the moment, you may find it difficult to recall what your child was wearing.
- Pin your contact information inside the child’s shirt or pocket.
- If you are driving, make sure all passengers are ready to travel
- Check to make sure car seats are installed properly
- Confirm everyone is harnessed or buckled appropriately.
- Have a meet-up plan if anyone gets separated
If Your Child Is Missing
If your child goes missing, the DOJ recommends families do the following:
- Request assistance from staff or volunteers at your current location
- Immediately call your local law enforcement agency to make a report
- If you’re not sure who to contact, here is a list by state
- Be prepared to provide information about your child, including date of birth, height, weight, and any other unique identifiers such as eyeglasses and braces
- Report when you first noticed your child was missing, where he/she was last seen, and what clothing he or she was wearing
- Request your child’s information be entered into the NCIC Missing Persons database
Whether you’re headed to the beach, a BBQ or staying close to home – Have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!