As a parent, you do whatever you can to keep your kids happy, healthy and safe. Part of being a good caregiver means anticipating the best but being prepared for the worst. You always want to keep your children safe and sound, but every day up to 2,000 kids may be reported missing in the United States.
If a child goes missing, one of the most important tools for law-enforcement authorities is a high-quality, current image of the child. That's where Lifetouch comes in. As a leading school portrait provider, the company has access to current images of students across the country. This could make a big difference when it matters most.
Free ID cards provide powerful information
The Lifetouch SmileSafe National Safety Program was born through a partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) to help provide law enforcement with current photographs should a child go missing. Each year, Lifetouch distributes SmileSafe photo ID cards to families in places where the company provides school photography.
The cards are free, and 500 million cards have been distributed since the inception of the SmileSafe program.
How SmileSafe cards help
Why are these cards so effective? If a child goes missing, law enforcement can call the phone number on the SmileSafe card and retrieve a current photo of the missing child, usually within 15 minutes. This photo can be used to help police and the community locate the child as quickly as possible. To date, SmileSafe photo ID cards have assisted in the safe recovery of children in 24 states.
One of these children was a 16-year-old girl who went missing from her New York home on July 13, 2014. Through the SmileSafe program, NCMEC obtained a picture of the child to create a poster. After seeing the poster on the NCMEC website, a concerned citizen provided a lead to NCMEC. This led law enforcement to safely recover the child on July 27, 2014.
Take action now
Caregivers never want to think about this type of situation happening to their children, but being prepared can provide peace of mind. Follow these four steps to protect your family:
Step 1: Tell your school administrators
The SmileSafe program is offered in most schools that use Lifetouch as their photography partner. If you’d like this program in your school, please tell your school administrators.
Step 2: Request a free digital download of the SmileSafe card
Request your digital SmileSafe card and save it on your smartphone or other digital device. Some parents also choose to provide the card to other trusted caregivers of their child.
Step 3: Store a printed version of the SmileSafe card in a safe place
A printed card may have been included as part of your school portrait order. Keep it in a safe place that's easily accessible. Do not give the card to your child to play with.