Saturday, July 06, 2013

Safety advice for parents

I normally don't pay attention to the bobbleheads on the morning news, most of that content is not very interesting. Oh, Egypt is burning, 30 are dead? Let's do a segment on how to get the perfect beach booty!

Anyway, the other morning the news was on and I was moving through the room to go get coffee and heard a safety expert talking about things to be aware of during the July 4th Boston Fireworks. They were talking about how there would be extra security, you couldn't bring any coolers in, which is bullshit if you ask me as it was 98 degrees with 80% humidity on the 4th and people come early to get their seats! Sure, no coolers but we won't give free ice water away to people to keep them from baking to death. This is why I don't go to these things...

but I digress.

The man then said one of the most brilliant things I've ever heard: Every time the family goes somewhere with the kids where they are in a large public venue (Baseball park, playground, fireworks in Boston...)  Parents should take a picture of their little kids right when they get there, or a short video to capture the child's look, clothing, voice, in case the child goes missing, there is some sort of incident where people flee and the family gets separated, or if the child is abducted.

Everyone's got a cell phone camera now, even the least fancy have a good camera on them. A photo of the child at the location showing exactly what they look like and what they're wearing gives the authorities something immediate they can post to get the word out that the child is missing.

A video is even better because the voice and mannerisms can be captured and people will be able to recognize a voice even if hair color or clothing are changed.

How smart is that?

Do you remember how many TV shows or news reports you used to see with these crappy out of focus or really out of date pictures that would be used? Parents only have a school photo from the beginning of last year and now it is July of the year following? Parents sometimes didn't have money to spend on getting film developed, or the pictures all came out awful, and there would be nothing really visual available to go on.

Our town used to host a Kid ID day where they would bring the kids down to the park, fingerprint them, take height and weight measurements, photograph them and do a quick "interview" of the children where they would say their name, their favorite food, their favorite TV show... and parents were given a free copy of the VHS tape. That was as recently as six or seven years ago because I think I still have Geoff's from one of those events.

Fascinating that even that kind of technology is obsolete. Almost as much as a blurry picnic photo from last year, which is "the most recent picture I have of my kid..."  Temporarily totally impressed with this advice.


  1. This is pretty genius, especially when compared to what they're usually discussing. Definitely an awesome tip. I just recently had a similar situation where a friend was pickpocketed and by the time we got to the police station, we'd forgotten exactly where (both being new to Stockholm) and I wasn't concerned because I knew I'd taken a photo minutes before and I could get the EXIF data off my iPhone's photo once we got home. Technology is quite wonderful... if only I'd gotten a photo of the pickpocketer as he stole her entire purse!

  2. i'm glad you had that resource. i'm still so sorry that your friend got pickpocketed. booooo!