For over 30 years, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), based in Alexandria, Virginia, has worked to help bring missing children home. NCMEC distributes information on personal, school, home, playground, cyber safety as well as other safety guidelines for parents, family members, and caregivers of children. They disseminate critical information about what to do when a child goes missing and share posters with photographs of and information about missing children–in English and Spanish–in order to help find the lost. Today, posters of missing and runaway children are shared with poster partners and government child protective service and law enforcement agencies over the Internet to help locate missing children as soon as possible. Amber alerts are broadcast to cell phones to expedite reporting sightings of missing children in a specific locale.
So, if you are a parent or guardian of a child who may go missing, we ask you to report it to the appropriate law enforcement agency and the NCMEC as soon as possible. If you think you have seen a missing child, we ask that you say something to the appropriate law enforcement agency or the NCMEC. The public is urged to call 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678), which is the NCMEC’s hotline, immediately if you believe you have seen or have information about a missing child.
The American public owes a debt of gratitude to John and Reve’ Walsh and others who through their own sacrifices, dedicated work and devotion, have furthered the cause of locating missing children. John and Reve’ tragically lost their son, Adam Walsh, when he was only 5 years old in 1981; they subsequently founded the Adam Walsh Outreach Center for Missing Children in Florida, which was then to become the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Below are NCMEC’s Halloween Safety Tips for parents, family members and caregivers:
- Be sure older children TAKE FRIENDS and younger children are accompanied by a trusted adult when ‘Trick or Treating’.
- Accompany younger children to the door of every home they approach and make sure
parents and guardians are familiar with every home and all people from which the children receive treats.
- Teach children to NEVER enter a home without prior permission from their parents or guardians.
- Teach children to NEVER approach a vehicle, occupied or not, unless they are
accompanied by a parent or guardian.
- Make sure all children wear reflective clothing and carry a glow stick when out at dusk and at night.
- Make sure children are able to see and breathe properly and easily when using facial masks. All costumes and masks should be clearly marked “flame resistant”.
- Teach children to NEVER approach a home that is not well lit both inside and outside.
- Teach children to stay alert for any suspicious incidents and report them to their parents, guardians, and/or the proper authority.
- Teach children if anyone tries to grab them to make a scene; loudly yell, “This person is not my father/mother/guardian,” and make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming, and resisting.
- Consider organizing or attending parties at home, in schools, or in community centers as a good alternative to “Trick or Treating.
(The Halloween Safety Tips are c. 1990 National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), under a grant No. 2007-MC-CX-KOO1 awarded by The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs.)
Bechildsafe.org would like to add to these that parents and caregivers make sure that children’s Halloween costumes do not drag the ground so that a child could easily trip and to make sure that their costumes are not so heavy or cumbersome that it could impede their ability to move freely.
Bechildsafe.org wishes everyone a Happy and very SAFE Halloween!