What to do if my child is missing?

National and international child protection organizations encourage parents to be prepared for the worst scenario to happen by maintaining up-to-date information and identification of their children, including medical and dental records, government issued documents and clear photographs. Additionally, if available, fingerprinting records and DNA samples can also be collected and stored.

Steps to take if your child goes missing:

  • Immediately call your local law enforcement agency.
  • After you have reported your child missing to law enforcement, if a local, national or regional missing children’s organization exists, call them, too, so they can provide support to you and to law enforcement.
  • If your child is missing from home, search anywhere he or she may be hiding in, near or around the home.
  • If you are in a store and your child goes missing, notify the store manager, security officer or other employee as quickly as possible. Then immediately call your local law enforcement agency.

When reporting your child as missing to law enforcement, it is important to provide as much information as possible about your child: name, date of birth, height, weight, and descriptions of any other unique identifiers such as eyeglasses, braces, and birthmarks. Explain the circumstances under which your child went missing and what your child was wearing when he or she went missing.

It is important to remain as calm as possible when reporting your child missing as it will allow law enforcement to better understand what happened and ask all relevant questions to help locate your child more quickly.