Thursday, October 21, 2010

National Child Identification Program

Every time I see those missing child photos that come in the mail, I think about what I would do if it was my child who was lost. I wonder if I would be able to provide an accurate description of my child while going through a parent's worst nightmare. That's why I completed ID kits for both kids. These kits included basic information sheets, fingerprints, DNA samples, and photos, which would all help in the event that either child is lost or abducted (scary, right?). This was a time-consuming process, but I feel it is absolutely worth it for my own peace of mind and the safety of my children. The ID kits are kept at home, but they also come with wallet cards, so I will always have identifying information with me.

Filling out the information section was simple enough. I provided the kids' full names, social security numbers, gender, race, birth date, eye color, hair color, height, weight, and the contact information for their pediatrician and dentist (for medical and dental records). The only thing I don't know is their blood type, so I left that part blank.

Next, I swabbed the insides of their cheeks to collect the DNA sample. The kit came with good directions for how to do this. The hardest part was waiting two hours for the swabs to dry. That wasn't hard, but I did make sure to label them with sticky notes so I wouldn't mix them up and put one back in the wrong ID kit.

The trickiest part of the whole process was collecting their fingerprints. Fortunately, the fingerprints are "inkless." (The ink only shows up on the paper, kind of like Crayola Color Wonder markers or paint, if you're familiar with those.) Clear directions are provided along with examples of "good" and "poor" fingerprints. It takes a bit of practice to get prints that aren't smudged, and it is challenging to fingerprint a squirming toddler! (I strapped Logan into his high chair for this.) Lastly, I added some current pictures. (I will have to remember to update them yearly, which is recommended.)

I am strongly encouraging everyone to take the time to complete a child ID kit for each of their children. The National Child Identification Program website includes these prevention tips for keeping children safe. I know most of this is commonsense, but their statistic states that
"Over 800,000 children are missing every year-- That's one every 40 seconds."
While it's disturbing to think about that, it would be far worse knowing that I didn't do all I could to prevent it from happening to my family.

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