MIAMI (CBSMiami) – May 25th is National Missing Children’s Day, and it’s all about bringing awareness about those still missing, as well as honoring the people who work to keep children safe.
Every 40 seconds, according to the FBI, a child is reported missing.
“That pit in your stomach is about the worst feeling a parent can have,” said James Lewis, a Supervising Special Agent with the FBI.
For some that feeling is temporary, as the child was simply hiding or playing quietly somewhere else.
But for others, that feeling turns to full-on panic when they realize their son or daughter is nowhere to be found.
“We encourage the parents to have a plan. It’s crucial hours,” Lewis said. “If your child goes missing from the mall or the park, you don’t want to be fumbling around for a picture or description to give to the law enforcement agency.”
That’s why the FBI is encouraging parents to download its “Child ID App” Wednesday, May 25th, National Missing Children’s Day.
The app lets you save your child’s photo, name, age and other identifying information so it’s easily available when needed.
“It can be emailed at the click of a button. It’s very user friendly,” Lewis told CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana.
Lewis says 300,000 people have already downloaded the free, secure app.
But Doral dad Joshua Hills says he’s not interested.
“I have plenty of pictures of my daughter. I have all of her personal information,” Hills said. “So if I need to turn it over I would. But I wouldn’t store it on an app.”
Lewis insists none of the information on the app is stored, and law enforcement will only receive it if you send it to them directly.
Whether parents have the app or not, authorities will be ready in the event of an emergency.
“We developed this ‘Child Abduction Checklist’ for local law enforcement, and in partnership with BSO our goal was to get this in the hands of every deputy in Broward County.”
Broward Sheriff’s Office Lt. Ken Kaminsky says about 1,000 BSO employees now have that checklist.
“This way we’re prepared for the worst case scenario. We hope it never happens, but we’ll always be ready,” Lt. Kaminsky said.
He said that plan came in handy just last month, when BSO was able to recover a missing two-month-old who was taken from his home at gunpoint during a home invasion.
Lt. Kaminsky says law enforcement has a plan in the event a child is missing, and you should too.
“Just like Daylight Saving Time we’re told change the battery in your smoke detector, what we want is for this day to be the day of awareness for children and families,” he said. “Have a plan in place. That’s what we want this day to be remembered as.”
National Missing Children’s Day has been commemorated in the U.S. on May 25, since 1983, when it was first proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan.