food for thought

From today's newspaper 1/08/2010:

CSI kit for wary parents.

This article was written by Roxanne Allan.

Here's a few paragraphs -in italics-from the story:

"A South Australian designed CSI-style forensic kit will allow parents to fingerprint and DNA sample their children as "insurance" in case they go missing.
The Find Me Safe child identification kit contains police-quality fingerprinting technology and a DNA sample bag for hair and skin follicles, as well as card to record a child's handwriting samples."

The headline caught me, because I've long been a fan of CSI and other forensic type TV shows, like Bones and Vanished Without A Trace.

I realise that TV shows are neatly packaged to show the crime, the search, and the happy (or not so happy) conclusion in a little less than an hour.

In real life, the search part would take considerably longer, DNA testing can take weeks or months to complete and a conclusion could very well take years. Many, many years.

Everyone remembers the Beaumont children? Disappeared in 1966? Never seen again.

"The unfortunate reality is that children do go missing and when they do, parents need to be able to quickly provide authorities with information that will aid their child's safe return."

This seems like a good idea. With today's technological advances, having fingerprints and DNA samples on file would save a lot of time.
BUT. (there's always a but)
Sadly, this would only work if a body, living or dead, is recovered, so that the fingerprints and DNA samples can be matched. If a child is never found, how can the samples be utilised?
Think back again to the Beaumont children. If they'd had these samples on file, with none of the children ever being seen again, the file is pretty much useless. I do remember years ago, people in New Zealand were thought to be the Beaumonts grown up, but this was never proven. Fingerprints and DNA could have proved useful then. (I'm contradicting myself a bit, I know).

" The kit also contains special identification stickers designed to go inside a child's shoe, and an identification card on which parents can record medical information, physical characteristics and a current photograph."

All of which is useful, especially if a kidnapped child manages to lose a shoe at the point of being taken, then the other shoe a couple of miles away. At least police will know which direction the kidnapper took. (Of course there's no guarantee he or she kept going in that direction..... )
Or if the kidnapper changed the child's clothes and dumped the original clothing which was then found.
So, basically a good idea, with happy conclusions for parents whose children have wandered away and gotten lost, then being found several suburbs or kilometres away, or for children who have been in an accident and are taken to the nearest hospital where no-one knows who they are or where they've come from.

The creator of the Find Me Safe kit is a young man named Adam Fairhead, and this is why he created it:
" A little boy went missing from the hotel...........For three painstaking hours we searched for him until he was finally found."

Luckily this child was found quickly and his parents were still in the hotel and able to identify him as their son. A happy ending. No DNA kit necessary. But if he hadn't been found almost immediately, the fingerprints etc would have been useful to test against very child in the vicinity who resembled the lost child.
I guess this is one way the kit would be useful in a kidnapping case. By testing every child in the correct age and size range, many would be eliminated from the search much faster.

"The Find Me Safe kit, which retails for $12.95, can be bought online at

Would any of you out there buy these kits in the hope that you would never need to use the information?
Or do you think that as a society we are being unusually paranoid?

Here's another point. Older children can be taught about "Stranger Danger", but what about the toddler who wanders away in a crowded shopping centre? Perhaps following another adult who is wearing similar clothing to that of his parent? (it happens). Identification stickers in shoes would be an asset there....

Okay, my mind has lost it's train of thought and is beginning to ramble.

And I extend apologies to any of you who I may have frightened into never letting your kids out of your sight ever again.


  1. I needed a long rope and an anchor for my kid but I only lost him once at S'land and was abused by the management for letting him roam. I might add I was in the Medibank store in a queue a mile long and only lost sight when I got to the counter. Of course I couldn't hear any announcement by management considering where I was. When I see what the little b's do now and get away with, he was an angel.

  2. One of mine wandered away in a crowded store, followed the wrong person outside into the mall area. When we got home I took off the brand new dress she had on and gave it away, I knew I could never put it on her again without crying. Thankfully she was only gone for about 5 minutes, the people she'd followed were bringing her back as we came out looking for her.

  3. Just lock em up until they're 15. Worked for me. Or perhaps we could microchip them $35 buckaroos and they can be scanned by the local vet hahaha!

  4. Baino; I like the microchip idea.


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