JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It only takes a second for a child to disappear from view, but from then on, time is precious.
According to Melissa Bujeda with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, most parents already have a tool that can help investigators find a missing child: a cell phone.
"You never want it to happen. It's something we all think about. What if? But if that 'What if?' happens, you need to be prepared," said Bujeda.
Through JSO's website, Facebook page and Twitter account, Bujeda is urging parents to take a photo of their children before going to the mall, an amusement park or even school. That way if a child goes missing, parents have not only a picture of what he or she looks like, but also what the child is wearing.
"People get stressed out, 'Oh my gosh, I can't find my kid.' They find the security guard. They find the employee of a store simple as Walmart or a Target or the mall and, 'What did the kid have on?' You go blank. It's happened to me," explained Bujeda, who is also a mother. "You're trying to think, what does my kid have on? And you can't remember a simple thing like that because your mind's going a million different ways."
Bujeda said try to include as many details as possible in the photo by taking a full length picture.
"And then you know exactly from head to toe how they were wearing their hair. Did they have socks on, was it sandals or shoes? You've got the whole thing and you can give a picture to police, if needed, right there," she shared.
Security at a store or attraction can use the photo of a child's outfit to immediately look for a matching image on surveillance cameras.
First Coast News