On average, how many children under the age of 18 go missing each year in the United States?
The U.S. Department of Justice reports:
797,500 children (younger than 18) were reported missing in a
one-year period of time
2,185 children being reported missing each day.
203,900 children were the victims of family abductions.
58,200 children were the victims of non-family abductions.
115 children were the victims of “stereotypical” kidnapping.
(These crimes involve someone the child does not know or someone of slight acquaintance, who holds the child overnight, transports the child 50 miles or more, kills the child, demands ransom, or intends to keep the child permanently.)
Since 1997, the AMBER Alert program has been credited with
the safe recovery of 542 children.
Since 1984, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has
assisted law-enforcement with more than 182,000 missing-child cases, resulting in the recovery of more than 169,000 children.
To help parents and guardians who are searching for advice about how to keep children safer, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® has compiled key information regarding child identification and safety measures.
Families should have current photos of their children. The photo should:
Show the child's full face in color.
Be in a digital format and able to be quickly accessed at all times.
Capture the way the child really looks.
Be updated at least every six months.
Be kept in a safe and readily accessible place.
You should include a complete detailed description of your child. The description should include:
Photo With Date
Date of Birth.
Glasses and braces.
Identifying marks such as tattoos or piercing. (take photos)
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 Styrofoam. 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.
Have your child's fingerprints taken by a trained professional. If your child is missing, law enforcement can enter the prints into the FBI's National Crime Information Center database.
As with all of these methods of identification, fingerprints can be recorded and stored at little or no cost. Retailers, supermarkets and other companies often provide opportunities for parents and guardians to have Child ID information taken for their children. It is recommended parents or guardians are the only ones to permanently store their child's identifying information.
DNA samples are useful to law enforcement in the case of identifying a child's remains. In recent years DNA has become the "gold standard" for personal identification.
There are many DNA collection kits available, but it is simple for you to collect a sample on your own. Items rich in DNA include an old toothbrush allowed to air dry, baby teeth, a hairbrush used exclusively by your child for at least one month or dried blood from a bandage. 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.
Parents and guardians should check with their child's doctor to make sure their children's medical records are readily accessible. Medical records, such as X-rays, permanent scars, blemishes, birthmarks and documentation of broken bones, can be helpful in identifying a recovered child.
Make a list of your child's friends, and their contact informations. Keep a list of places that they play. In an emergency situations, these facts can be hard to think about, so having them listed will help authorities. the more information the better.
If you think of anything that might be important relating to your children, include it in your file for each child. One small sliver of information can make a difference.