Child Personal Safety

Steps to Protect Children

Safety Tips for Kids
Safety Tips for Kids - Take 25

Discussion Guides

Child ID Kit
Child ID Kit PDF
When recovering a missing child, the most important tools for law enforcement are an up-to-date, quality photograph and descriptive information. Complete this Child ID Kit by attaching a recent photograph of your child and listing all identifying and medical information. Update the photograph and information every 6 months, and keep the Kit in a secure, accessible location.

Photo identification (ID)
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.

Description
You should include a complete description of your child. The description should include:

Name.
Nickname.
Date of Birth.
Sex.
Hair color/style.
Eye color.
Weight.
Height.
Glasses and braces.
Identifying marks such as tattoos or piercings.

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 StyrofoamTM. 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.

Fingerprints
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 sample
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.

Medical reports
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.