THERE IS NO WAITING PERIOD REQUIRED TO REPORT A MISSING CHILD TO THE POLICE
It is critical for parents to be able to provide accurate and detailed information to authorities if their child is missing. When a child is missing, first few hours are crucial to recovery. Parents often waste this time searching for photos and providing descriptions to the police. Child ID cards enable parents to immediately give police a comprehensive and accurate description of their child, saving precious time.The Lafayette Police Department provides a Child ID Program at the Art & Wine Festival, the Reservoir Run and other Lafayette Chamber of Commerce special events throughout the year free of charge to residents. The program provides parents with an inkless palm print of their child and and information card on which vital information can be recorded.
Parents should keep their child ID information at home and in their wallet. If your child gets lost in the mall or at a theme park, for example, you can immediately give the police your ID card to speed recovery. The child ID cards are not intended for children to carry, as they can easily lose it. Parents, guardians, caregivers, grandparents, and other close relatives should all carry cards. They can also be given to babysitters and daycare providers.
Parents may also call (925) 284-5010 to set up an appointment.
Child Safety Tips
Approach the subject of safety in a non-threatening way. It is important that you don't make your child fearful of dangerous situations or people, but cautious and able to recognize when something is not right.
- Encourage your child to trust his or her intuition, and to be able to talk to you when something is bothering them. They should know not to keep secrets from you. Open communication is very important. Really LISTEN to your child.
- Let your child know that their body belongs to them. No one has the right to touch them inappropriately. If someone is touching them or making them feel uncomfortable in any way, they should let you know immediately, even if it is a family member.
- Inform your child of the rules pertaining to strangers. Namely, that a stranger looks just like any other person, not like a monster or creature. A stranger is someone that your child does not know nor does his or her friends and family.
- Strangers will use different ways to lure a child. The most common lures are: pretending to look for a lost dog, having candy/money for the child if they go to their car with them, telling the child that he'll hurt family members if they do not comply, and asking for directions. Let your child know that adults DO NOT ask children for help nor do they threaten them. If they do encounter any of these situations they should immediately scream, "NO," and run as quickly as they can in the opposite direction and try to find a trusted adult. They should never approach an unknown car or get into a car with an adult that they do not know. If someone tries to grab him the child should scream, "THIS IS NOT MY PARENT!" to attract attention.
- Share an easily remembered secret CODE WORD. Tell your child that if anyone approaches them and says that he is a family friend and that they need to take them somewhere (sometimes they say that a parent is hurt and in the hospital or there's a family emergency), your child must ask for the code word. If the person really is a friend, they will know it. If they don't know it then your child should run away as quickly as possible.
- Never label your child's clothing, backpack, or other personal items with their name. An abductor could use this information to try to gain trust in your child.
- Give your child instructions on what to do if they get separated from you in a mall, supermarket, or other public place. Tell them to go to a check-out counter, information desk, or to approach a security officer or mother with children and let them know that they are lost and looking for their parent(s). Make sure that your child knows his or her full name, address, phone number, and the place where you work or can be contacted, as well as how to dial 911, make collect calls, and dial the operator on a pay phone.
- Know where your child is at all times, and keep a list of their friends, addresses, and phone numbers.
- Keep a record of your child's personal and medical information on-hand in case of emergency. Make sure they are fingerprinted and that you have a recent photo of available at all times. Remember to update your records every 6-12 months because of your child's growth.
- Try not to panic if your child is missing. First check everywhere in the house, then check with the neighbors and your child's friends. If you still cannot locate them, immediately call the police.