TULSA - Sunday was National Missing Children's Day in the United States.
It's a sad fact that every year, thousands of children go missing.
In some of those cases, parents and law enforcement struggle to get all the information gathered so the search can begin in earnest.
That's why the FBI has developed the Child ID app.
The agency says the app "provides an effective way for parents and guardians to keep their child’s pictures and information on hand in case he or she goes missing. The app also includes safety tips for parents to help keep their kids out of harm’s way."
The free app works on both iOS and Android systems.
The FBI does not collect the information about the children.
With the school year ending for most children, now's a good time for parents to consider how best to keep them safe during the summer months:
- Know your child care providers. Choose babysitters, nannies and tutors with care. Obtain references from family, friends and neighbors. Many states now have registries for public access to check criminal history or sex-offender status. Observe the interaction with your children, and ask your children how they feel about your child care provider. Do background screening and reference checks on everyone who works in your home, particularly those people who care for your children. Check references with other families who have used the child care providers. Make sure you know as much about them as they do about you and your family. For access to sex-offender registries, visit www.nsopw.gov.
- Check out camps and summer programs before enrolling your children. Ask if a background screening check is completed on the individuals working with the children. Make sure there will be adult supervision of your children at all times, and make sure you are made aware of all activities and field trips offered by the camp or program.
- Observe how adults work with your children. Be involved in your children’s activities and if you are concerned about anyone’s behavior, discuss your concerns with the sponsoring organization. Notice when anyone shows one or all of your children an inordinate amount of attention or tries to give them gifts. Take the time to talk to your children about the person and find out why that person is acting in this way. Tell your children to never accept money or gifts from anyone unless you have told them it is OK.
- Know where your children are and who they are with. Make sure an adult whom you have met and know the background of is supervising children any time they are outside or away from home. Review rules with your children about whose homes they may visit and discuss the boundaries of where they may and may not go in the neighborhood.
- Talk to your children about safety and encourage them to tell you or another trusted adult if anyone or anything makes them feel sad, scared or confused. Teach them it is OK to tell you what happened and they will not be “tattletales” for telling.
- Remember to stay alert, informed and focused about personal-security issues. Being available and taking time to really know and listen to your children helps build feelings of safety and security. Be sure your child knows what to do in case of an emergency and how to reach you by phone. Children should have a trusted adult, whom you know, to call if they are scared or there is an emergency.
The FBI also offers important information for employers who are hiring for summertime positions that have interaction with children.