On the fence about child ID cards? Don’t be
A while back, the Kohl Children’s Museum decided to collect fingerprints. In the midst of doling out child safety tips during a Kids Identification and Safety Seat event, professionals snapped photos and took notes as part of a safety awareness campaign related to child abduction. The reason? Child ID cards.
Many parents are skeptical of child IDs for a few simple, totally sensible reasons. First and foremost, giving away personal information is always a sensitive process. It’s even more sensitive when it has to do with kids. There’s always an implicit feeling that someone, somewhere is capable of acquiring your child’s personal information at any time. But here are some things to give you peace of mind.
Child IDs are not new
Child IDs date back almost 30 years. Ident-A-Kids, one of the country’s biggest and most well-known suppliers of kids IDs, started in 1986 when founder Robert King helped a neighbor whose child had gone missing. King began dishing out IDs to friends, using a typewriter, Polaroid photos and a messy ink fingerprint. His enterprise was later recognized by Inc. magazine as one of the 500 fastest growing private companies in the U.S.; Entrepreneur magazine later named Ident-A-Kid as the No. 1 child safety franchise system in the country with a reputable model.
A child ID doesn’t equal Big Brother
Collecting information related to your child is not about surveillance. In fact, most information processed for a kids ID is never recorded or kept in a database. You might be surprised to learn that parents often can’t recall critical details of a child’s face or build, which is where the ID comes into play. Like most things these days, the digital sphere is increasingly working to protect itself from cyber threats and things like hacking. Today, cyber security is at a premium.
A child ID is handy other ways
The U.S. Travel Association estimates that roughly 30 percent of leisurely travelers are families traveling with small children. Those families average about 4.5 trips per year, either domestically or internationally. International trips can cause headaches; you never know when an ID can come into play, whether it’s security-related or simply a way to spread the word (with a visual) that someone from the clan is missing.
Most child IDs are free
The City Clerk of Chicago provides great online resources for still-skeptical parents. You can learn more about child ID cards, how to obtain them and all the requisite information to make an educated decision. The Clerk’s office issues child IDs for free, as well as a card for parents that includes special phone numbers to report a missing child to police.