Make Your Own Child ID
At DIGIKIDS® we are serious about child safety, and committed to offering parents the most advanced and effective child ID available today.
The DIGIKIDS® Child ID Program is offered onsite at Business Sponsored Safety Events, schools and preschools.
To make sure that every child is protected, we also wanted to share step-by-step instructions you can use to make your own portable CD, ID card and posters.
When you are finished, you won't have the automated features of the DIGIKIDS® CD and Quick Response™ Software, but you will have the basics based on guidelines from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC.org) and something that is much better than an ID card alone.
Make Your Own ID Instructions
What you need:
Step 1 - Take two digital photos.
Take head and shoulder portraits from different angles, such as those taken by school photographers.
When you are finished, you want high quality photographs in sharp focus that most resemble your child. Try for candid, as opposed to posed photos, which the NCMEC says “may be more representative of how your child looks than a posed shot."
The NCMEC (NCMEC.org) recommends updating your child's photos and physical descriptions every six months for children 6 years of age or younger and then once a year, or when your child's appearance changes.
Step 2 - Write down a physical description of your child.
Add any descriptive identifiers such as:
IMPORTANT: Don't include your address, phone number, school or other tracking information criminals could use if you were to lose your ID!
Step 3 - Make an ID card to carry.
The card can be as simple as a sharp color portrait photo of your child with the complete description clearly written on the back, or you might want to use a program such as Microsoft Word to layout your own.
NOTE: You don't need to add a fingerprint to the card, since fingerprints aren't useful when you are trying to locate your child. But you should keep fingerprints and DNA of your child in a safe place at home in the event a forensic identification needs to be made. (See Fingerprints and DNA below)
If you don't have a color printer, you can take what you create to a quick print store such as FedEx Kinko's. They can also laminate your cards.
If you make your own:
Be sure to update the photo and description frequently. The NCMEC (NCMEC.org) recommends updating your child's photos and physical descriptions every six months for children 6 years of age or younger and then once a year, or when your child's appearance changes.
Step 4 - Posters
Posters are very useful to post at store or theme park exits if you can't find your child. You may also want to make up a number of ID cards (above) that you can hand out in an emergency.
Many stores have a Code Adam program. When a customer reports a missing child to a store employee, a "Code Adam" alert is announced over the public-address system. All designated employees stop their normal work to search for the child, and monitor all exits to help prevent the child from leaving the store.
Our poster automatically prints from the DIGIKIDS® CD on standard 8 1/2 X 11 paper with about a 4 X 6 photo, and that's the size we suggest you make.
Step 5 - Save to CD-ROM
The NCMEC (NCMEC.org) says, "When possible the photograph should be in a digitized form, and available on a compact disk (CD), as opposed to just a hard copy. This minimizes the time necessary to scan, resize, and make color corrects before disseminating it to law enforcement."
Like the NCMEC (NCMEC.org), our suggestion is to use a CD-ROM since floppies are easy to damage without you knowing it. For instance, they are highly susceptible to erasure by magnets (such as by a car stereo speaker) and water will damage them. And many of the newer computers don't have floppy drives.
We use a business card size CD since full-size CD's are too large to easily carry. If you don't have access to a small CDR to store and carry your information, you can keep the the large CD in a locked glove compartment, or in a purse. Either way, consider using a plastic sleeve or 'jewel case' to protect the CD.
When copying photos to your CD, they should be in .jpeg format and the physical descriptions in either a .txt file (easiest for law enforcement to work with) or in Microsoft Word. It's best to make a number of CD's so that anyone that is with your child has the photos and information at all times - children are most often reported lost or missing from somewhere other than home.
And finally, we suggest you write the date on the face of the CD with a Sharpie type pen so you can remember to update the physical descriptions and photos at the NCMEC's (NCMEC.org) recommended schedule.
IMPORTANT: Be sure you don't include your address, phone number, school or other tracking information criminals could use if you were to lose your CD!
**A note for MAC computer users: If you create the CD on your Macintosh Computer, please make sure you test it in a Windows® PC. It is much easier to find a Windows® PC when you are away from home to use in an emergency. All police departments and other law enforcement agencies (as far as we know) use Windows® PC's.
Using Your ID
Sending Photos and Physical Descriptions
Most email programs allow you to attach files and send with an email; some are easier to use than others.
You may know exactly how to use your personal email program or online email service, but in an emergency you probably won't be using the one you are familiar with. Children are most often reported lost or missing from somewhere other than home.
To send or attach your files you can usually launch a new email and with the CD you made in the CD drive, navigate to the photos and identifying information and manually attach one at a time. If you can't send email, or the email is rejected by the recipient, you can hand the CD you made to the responding officer who can take it to the police station and manually extract the files.
IMPORTANT: If you do send emergency email, we strongly suggest that you follow up with each recipient to make sure the email went through.
One of the major obstacles we had to overcome when designing the DIGIKIDS® CD was the electronic transfer or broadcasting of the photos and physical description information via email.
Because we automatically attach so many files (more than what you will be doing manually with your CD), many Internet Service Providers (ISP) mistook the emergency email as SPAM or a virus - and blocked the email.
There are also many people that don't have Outlook or other MAPI compliant email program installed on their computer, (or the one they need to use in an emergency) rather depending on one of the online email providers like Hotmail or Yahoo, further slowing or even eliminating the sending of attachments with the emergency email.
The answer was our †patent-pending SMTP eMail Program™ that is fully contained on the DIGIKIDS® CD. With the DIGIKIDS® CD you don't need an outside email program. It also routes emergency email and attachments through a dedicated network so that it is not mistaken for SPAM or virus and rejected.
Fingerprints and DNA
Authorities ask that you keep both fingerprints and DNA in a safe place at home in the event a forensic identification needs to be made. We include our Be Prepared™ Home Fingerprint & DNA Kit with the DIGIKIDS® Child CD at no charge for this purpose.
If you would like to use our kit to take and store your child's fingerprints, you can purchase a kit at the Online Store.
You can also use your local police department, as they will usually fingerprint your child without charge. Some states have developed programs in which a DNA sample of a child is taken at the same time. If this is offered in your state, make sure that you keep the only DNA sample that is taken from your child, and store it in a safe place in your home.
If you have any questions about these instructions, or would like more information on starting a DIGIKIDS® Business of your own, please Contact Us!