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Appropriate Responses to a Lost Child

My ID Club

Since 1997, My ID Club has created and distributed child identification cards. My ID Club uses these cards not only as a resource in case of abduction or loss, but also as a catalyst for conversations about missing and kidnapped children.

The adult who finds a lost child has several decisions to make. The responsible adult will choose to notice and attend to the lost child, but many find it difficult to do so in a way that does not alarm the child and cause him or her to flee. A safe first step can be a gentle approach, which allows the adult to assess whether the child can communicate and answer questions about whether he or she is lost.

If the child cannot communicate, the adult can stay nearby while alerting officials or law enforcement. A calmer and more communicative child may be able to tell the adult if his or her family has a specified meeting point or if home is in sight.

If the caregiver is not immediately available, the adult who found the child should not attempt to take the child elsewhere. Instead, the adult can stay with the child while finding a way call the child's parents or alert the appropriate authorities. The adult must be able to protect the child and preserve his or her sense of safety, without acting in a way that calls up potential liability.

 

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