Keep your child in check

Dudu Busani

Dudu Busani

Hundreds of children who are reported missing every year are never found because their parents do not have their photographs.

The introduction of Id-A-Kid, a do-it-yourself kit that keeps a photograph, fingerprints, dental record, blood type and a DNA sample of a child, could make the process of finding missing children easier.

Fanie van der Venter of the SA Centre for Missing and Exploited Children said more than 1 500 children are reported missing every year. "We have children who have been missing for 15 years and have not been found because we do not know how and where to start looking for them. Id-A-Kid is a great and very useful project," said Van der Venter.

Gavin Fosker, one of the brains behind Id-A-Kid, said the project was launched early last year and has had both negative and positive response from the public.

"The project is doing well so far, but the thing is, parents in South Africa, by default, choose to take a reactive stance towards child safety by doing nothing."

He also said that research indicates that very few parents have ever sat down and had a safety discussion with their children.

The Id-A-Kid kit takes only five minutes to complete. First, you put the child's photograph in a folder, then a full list of relevant personal information of the child.

The kit comes with a sterile cotton swab which you rub inside a child's mouth and then press into a DNA isolation card for a DNA sample. Fingerprints are recorded by dunking the child's fingers into an ink pad that also comes with the kit. Weight, height, hair colour, eye colour and blood type are also included when compiling the kit.

"The kit costs R100 and it is a once-off purchase," Fosker said.