What to do when a child goes missing

Cape Town - If your child disappears, do not waste any time reporting it. That’s the number one tip to all parents and guardians during the holidays.

A child disappears every six hours in South Africa – that’s 1 460 children each year – and of these 87 percent are found within the first week.

Bastion Primary School in Brackenfell launched a project to compile a database of its pupils, with fingerprints and DNA samples. Here Sjean de Kock, left, a fourth-year social work student, takes a hair sample from a Grade 1 pupil, seven-year-old Anita Steyn. Piicture: Jeffrey Abrahams. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

The police advise: “There is no waiting period before reporting a person as missing; time is of the essence so it should be done immediately.

“The sooner you report a missing person to the police, the sooner they can assist you in searching for him/her.”

When a child disappears, Missing Children SA advises:

Other tips from the police include knowing the schedules and movements of loved ones and family, and knowing your children’s friends. Police also recommend making a point of remembering the clothing they wear.

After reporting the case to police:

Missing Children SA advises parents to teach children the importance of not going anywhere alone and knowing their address and home phone numbers. - Cape Argus