In 1983, Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 25th as National Missing Children’s Day. All month long, WUSA9 has shared faces of missing children from our area in in hopes of helping to bring them home. Here are 5 ways keep your children safe & join WUSA9 in raising awareness of missing children in our area

1. Talk honestly to your kids about protecting themselves

Former President of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Ernie Allen, encourages parents to talk candidly with their children about safety. Role playing exercises could help kids protect themselves if they're confronted with immediate threats or predators.

2. Monitor internet and cell phone communications

Internet and cell phones make for constant access - for better and for worse. Parents should encourage safe practices and teach their children about the potential dangers of the online world. Parents can also track unsafe digital and online messages with the Bark app, which searches texts for red flags and and alerts the tracker by cell phone. It is also recommended that cell phone usage be limited to times of day parents can monitor.

3. Create a Child Safety Kit

According to NCMEC the most crucial part of finding a missing child is having up to date photos and information on hand if something tragic happens. Safety Central is a simple app in which you can take a photo, enter information, and even take photos of your child fingerprints. The app is with you on your phone and easy to update as your child grows.

3. Report missing children immediately

Law enforcement was previously restricted from taking on a report of a missing child until 24-48 hours after that child had last been seen. That waiting period no longer exists. If you have any information on any missing person or child, it's important to give as much detail to the authorities as possible as soon as possible.

4. Share photos of missing kids

In the past, milk cartons and 'Have You Seen Me?' flyers were used to circulate the faces of missing persons. Today, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms expand the audience and alert people much faster. America's Missing Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER) alerts provide notifications during the most critical hours of a missing person’s case.

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