The holidays are fast approaching and that means more people will be out shopping and celebrating. Children can be quickly and unexpectedly separated from parents. Do you know what to do if you lose your child in a public place? Let us imagine that you are shopping at a local super store, when suddenly you realize your child is missing. What is the first thing you should do?
Before you panic or spend too much time searching for your missing child on your own, instead find the nearest store employee. Tell the employee that you want to report your child missing. Now ask the employee to implement the store's missing child protocol which is usually referred to as - Code Adam. Code Adam is an implemented program and standard practice in many public stores, restaurants, and amusement parks.
Code Adam was founded in 1994. The Code Adam program has become one of America's largest child safety programs, and is a powerful search tool for lost and possibly abducted children in public establishments across the nation.
Code Adam was created in memory of 6-year-old Adam Walsh. Adam was the only child of John and Reve Walsh.
In 1981, Adam disappeared from the toy section of a large chain store in Florida, while shopping with his mom Reve. Adamís mother spent over two hours searching for her son by herself, before a store employee contacted the police. Two weeks after he went missing, Adamís severed head was recovered. The exact circumstances of Adamís disappearance and subsequent murder remain a mystery to this day.
According to the National Center for Missing and exploited children, there are six steps to be implemented when a child is reported missing. First, the employee gets a detailed description of the child. Then the employee activates a Code Adam by announcing over the store's intercom the detailed description of the child, which includes a physical description of age, height, weight, hair and eye color and clothes. Next all employees jump into action monitoring store entrances, and looking up and down every isle while calling the child's name. Law enforcement is contacted if a child has not been found in the first ten minutes of the search. If the child is found unharmed, with no reason to suspect foul play, the child is reunited with family.
In a situation where a child is found in the company of someone other than a parent or legal guardian, employees make reasonable efforts to stop the abductor from leaving with the child, without increasing the danger to the child, staff or customers. Law enforcement is called and a physical description of the abductor, including the direction in which they fled is given. A Code Adam can only be canceled after the child has been found, or law enforcement arrives and takes over the search for the missing child.
If you become separated from a child, do not hesitate to find a store employee and ask them to initiate a Code Adam alert. Do not delay initiating this program by looking for your child by yourself. The more eyes looking for a lost child the chances increase the child will be found safely and reunited with his or her family. Stores are too crowded and too big to look for a small child alone. Time is the biggest factor working against finding a child who is missing.
Statistics show that everyday more than 2,000 children are reported missing. Donít let your child become a statistic, be prepared and know what to do if your child disappears while you are out on the town and remember to ask for help.