Have you ever been in a store and suddenly your child is gone? You panic and start searching everywhere until she runs out laughing from under a rack of dresses. What if you could not find her?
Most stories end happily but sometimes a family faces the worst nightmare of their lives. If you can’t find her after a reasonable search, keep calm and act immediately.
Call the police. Be ready to give them your child’s name, date of birth, weight and height and anything unique about him. Does he wear glasses, have braces, walk with a limp, wear earrings, have scars, tattoos or birthmarks? Also, tell what he was wearing.
I saw a suggestion online that would help. When you get ready to go anywhere with your child, take a picture on your phone.
That way, you remember what he wore and can show the police or security guard a current picture. You can always delete it the next time and take a new photo.
Ask the police to enter your child’s name into the National Crime Information Center Missing Person File. It is a good idea to have your child’s fingerprints on hand in case he ever goes missing.
In some places, the police will fingerprint children. They do not keep a record of the fingerprints but give them to you for emergencies. There are also kits for sale that let you take the prints yourself and keep them on file.
Report the disappearance to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
If you discover your child is missing at home, first check all the obvious places. He could be hiding in a closet, in laundry or the hamper, under a bed, or inside the washer or dryer or in the toy box.
He might be in the car or even the trunk. If he is small, check the refrigerator and freezer first. I once found my child sleeping under the bed. In a store, tell the manager or security guards.
There is a plan called Code Adam in place in many stores. The store managers immediately lock all doors and tell all the clerks to stop what they are doing and look for the child. Children have been saved from strangers trying to abduct them from a store because of Code Adam.
Never give up and never stop looking. Extraordinary things do happen and children do come home.