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Children Go Missing Every Day: How to Keep Yours Safe

It was a beautiful spring afternoon in 2015 when Angela S., a mom of two elementary-aged boys, had one of the scariest experiences a parent can go through. One moment, her six-year-old son was posing on the jungle gym at a crowded park near where his older brother was participating in a baseball tournament; the next moment, he was gone. 

"My father - who'd been with us at the baseball tournament - called me to say he'd returned to the park with lunch. When I looked up from my phone to tell Ian it was time to eat, he was gone.

"I'll never forget the sick feeling I felt as I looked for him inside play structures and behind buildings and saw no sign of him. I imagined the worst. 

Angela called her father, who told her Ian was with him at the picnic shelter. "He must have seen his grandfather reenter the park and run off to meet him," Angela recalls. "But the thoughts of what could have happened stayed with me for a while."

Fortunately, Angela's scare turned out to be a false alarm, but many situations do not. Every 40 seconds, a child goes missing in the U.S. More than 460,000 children go missing each year. In almost 90% of reported missing children cases, these children aren't abducted; they go missing due to miscommunication, getting lost, or children running away.

ID bands

Kenson Kids' Safety Travel ID bands were created to help keep kids safe in crowded places. They are particularly helpful for very young children whose communication skills aren't fully developed or who are too young to have memorized a parent's phone number or even to know mom or dad's name. Having that information inside of the band helps other adults to identify a lost child more quickly and reunite him with his family sooner. 

Experts also recommend dressing your child in bright clothing and taking a recent photo of your child before you venture out to a crowded place. "I did have that going for me," Angela says. "Ian LOVED to wear neon colors at the time, and I'd snapped a photo of him on the jungle gym just before he ran off."

Reader tip: Take a picture of your kids' shoes. In many abduction situations, the child will be changed into different clothes, may be given a hat, his/her hair may be cut, etc. But the shoes are not as easily changed.

ID bands are also useful for school field trips to aid parent chaperones who are responsible for large groups of children. They display the child's names on the inside of the band, along with their parent's contact information and any allergies the child may have. 

Check out this article for more tips on keeping your kids safe in a crowd.

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