Toledo, OH - Imagine for a moment that your child has disappeared. Panic, and worst case scenarios fill your head. This is because you never thought this would happen to you, and ou are not prepared. But now you have no choice but to remain calm and find anwers.
"I know that it would certainly not be easy because that's probably one of the worst things parents could ever imagine happening to them," says JoAnna Carson with the Children's Advocacy Center.
Just two months ago in Cleveland, Ohio, three women were found alive, after being held captive for ten years.
Right here in Toledo, we've watched the story of Elaina Steinfurth. Elaina disappeared in the middle of the day without a trace.
If someone does go missing, you must immediately call police.
[CG :Y 2 Line Super\Pamela Crabtree\Yell & Tell: Stop Child Abuse Now]
"The sooner authorities are apprised of a missing child, the sooner an Amber Alert can go out," says Pamela Crabtree, Director of Yell & Tell: Stop Child Abuse Now.
According to FBI statistics, about 76% of kidnappings involve a family member or acquaintance of the victim. About 24 % are known as a stereotypical abduction, defined as those in which a child is detained overnight, transported atleast 50 miles, held for ransom or intended to be kept permanently or killed.
It's up to you, as a parent, to ensure your child's safety.
"If we don't protect them, nobody is going to protect them," says Crabtree.
You must be prepared if anything should happen, especially if a child disappears.
Rules to follow include keeping current photograph of your child.
It's a good idea to get children finger-printed, which child safety groups often make available at events.
Samples of DNA can also be taken. Also, make sure dental records are available.
While these measures won't prevent something from happening, it will help prepare you if something does happen.
Crabtree says, "If you do not have the tools or the education on what to do to protect your child, you're putting that child at risk."
Advances in science have introduced more extreme safety options like microchipping. The FDA approved a chip in 2004, however, the company that made the device discontinued production in 2010 amidst health and privacy concerns. But the technology is becoming available.
Though still very controversial, it would make locating a missing child much easier if it held a tracker.
Those who work with children on a daily basis agree that educating ourselves on how to keep our children safe, is most important defense, and should start the day your baby is born...
"We live in a very dangerous world," admits Crabtree. "And parents, when you have that child, you better recognize that. And you better protect that very vulnerable child."
If you agree with the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child," in this day and age, you must be absolutely sure you can trust everyone in that village.
Otherwise, you better think twice before letting your children too far out of your sight.