Keeping our children safe is a big concern for parents. With over 2,000 kids being reported as missing every day in the United States alone, the fear of your child being abducted is often on the minds of parents. If a child does go missing, one of the things a parent is asked for is a recent photo. Most parents provide the most recent school photo or other posed portrait. As a photographer (professional or amateur), you will probably have numerous "nice" photos of your child. School and other formal posed photos are photos of children at their best. They wear their best clothes, have clean faces, neat hair, and are smiling. This is not how a child will look if they are abducted. As our Crime and Punishment Guide, Charles Montaldo, writes that "researchers have found that these photos may not be as useful as they would like in helping the public identify the missing child." It is highly recommended that another photo of your child be available for identification in addition to a smiling posed photo. Another thing parents will be asked is to describe what the child was wearing. In the panic of the moment, details such as this are likely to be hard to recall accurately.
A simple way to provide a more "realistic" identification photo and record significant details such as what the child was wearing is to take a photo every day. This does not have to be a chore. Use your cell phone and make it a habit to snap a full length photo of your child each morning before they leave the house. Take the photo in the same place every day so height can easily be determined later. This way you will have recorded the hair style, clothing, and shoes with accuracy. You will also have a photo of the child looking more annoyed than happy which may aid in facial recognition should a member of the public see your child later. Because our phones are always with us, these photos can quickly given to law enforcement officers and they are already digital for easy distribution. These quick snaps will only take a moment out of your life and they will be invaluable should your child ever go missing.