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Identification Can Save Lives

Natural disasters such as hurricanes bring to light several emergency preparedness issues, from crowded evacuation routes to separated families. They also emphasize the need to protect and prepare our children in case of emergency, whether it is a hurricane evacuation or school bus accident.

Two thousand children were separated from their parents during Hurricane Katrina, some too young or scared to communicate their emergency information turned up in shelters across the country, others were later found with loved ones. These youngest victims of the storm, were missing the one tool that could have saved them the added trauma of being lost from their parents, alone and afraid in a strange place and perhaps even awaiting medical treatment. This one simple tool could reunite them with parents quickly or literally save their lives if medical treatment is needed – an emergency ID.

During hurricane Rita, Acting Director of FEMA, R. David Paulison instructed parents to put an emergency ID on their children in case they were lost or injured. Sadly, emergency ID for children, such as Who’s Shoes ID, has not been readily available to the public or even considered a vital safety tool until now.

A personal, emergency ID is the single most important thing you can do to prepare your child for an emergency. An ID combined with some simple preparation tips can give you added protection in any emergency as well as piece of mind.

  1. Children need to wear emergency ID.
    All children (infants to 12) should wear up-to-date, discreet personal ID at all times. You never know when an emergency may strike. Who’s Shoes IDTM fits on the child’s shoe, or belt and so it is ALWAYS with the child. It is the safety link between a child and a parent. (Caution: necklace IDs are a choking hazard for children 3 and under)
  2. Provide complete information on the IDs.
    IDs should contain three to four emergency numbers: two parent or guardian cell phones, a primary phone number of an in-town emergency contact, and a primary phone number of an out-of-town emergency contact. The last two numbers are in case you cannot be reached due to downed cellular towers, injury, etc. Review these contacts with your children, though they may not be able to provide their names and numbers when asked, the will recognize the names when repeated to them from the ID and will be comforted by a familiar name. Any medical conditions or allergies should also be listed on the ID, along with date of birth.
  3. Designate emergency contacts/care providers.
    Parents should designate one, in-town and one, out-of-town emergency contact/care provider for their child. Parents should provide the designated contact/care provider with a medical release form for the child signed by the parents or guardians, allowing the emergency contact/care provider can authorize medical treatment in the parents’ absence. Be sure to include the parents’ contact information, copies of child’s medical history/records, insurance card, physician’s name and contact numbers, etc. with the release form.
  4. Carry current photos of your child.
    Parents should always carry current photos of their child in their wallet. One close-up and one full body photo is ideal. Parents should also carry a current ID card, such as the one provided in the Who’s Shoes ID kit, with all the child’s vital statistics. The information should be updated up every six months. Keep children’s fingerprints and DNA samples in a safe, dry place in your home and bring them with you if you need to evacuate.
  5. Take a picture.
    In an emergency situation, take a picture of your child with your cell phone camera. It will be current (that day’s clothing, hair cut, etc.) and easily available.
  6. Play “What do I look like?”
    If you have time and the child is old enough, play a game of “What do I look like?” before you leave your home. Have your children recite their parents’ names, describe what they look like and what they are wearing. Parents take a careful look at what their child is wearing that day too.
  7. Instruct children to identify “Helpful Strangers.”
    Instruct children to identify “Helpful Strangers” if they are separated from their parents or in another emergency situation. These strangers can assist a child when they need help. Mothers with children and uniformed police are the best helpful strangers and easiest for a small child to identify. Teach children to show their ID to a “Helpful Stranger” in an emergency situation. Teach them that their ID is their safety link between them and their parents.
  8. Talk with your child.
    Explain what is happening and what you are planning to do. Explain that the child and their safety are the most important thing and that you, the parent, will do all you can to protect them, but that it is a serious situation and you all need to be prepared.

These safety tips were provided by www.whosshoesid.com. Mary Lynn Fernau, the inventor of Who’s Shoes ID, realized the need for complete ID information when her son, while remembering his home phone, had forgotten his parents’ cell phone numbers when he sustained an injury at a friend’s house.


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