If your child does wander, an organized response is your best hope of getting your child home safely.
Family Wandering Emergency Plan: This plan (developed by AWAARE) includes critical information about your child, contact information for friends who will help coordinate search efforts and a list of places where your child is most likely to go.
First Responder Alert Form: This form (developed by AWAARE) contains information about your child that first responders can use in a search, including physical description, medical needs, communication style and likes/dislikes.
Child Identification Kit: This document (developed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) is less special-needs specific and available in English or Spanish.
State Identification Card: Older children who are more likely to carry a wallet regularly can benefit from keeping a state of Ohio identification card. You can apply for a card for any age child at any Ohio license bureau.
Autism ID Card: Also appropriate for older children who carry a wallet and who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the autism ID card can be presented to law enforcement or other first responders in the event that the person with autism is unable to communicate.
Medical Alert ID Bracelet: MedicAlert is the most well-recognized provider of engraved ID bracelets; however, there are a number of other alternatives including StickyJewelry and RoadID, who provide durable, comfortable and engraved identification at a reasonable cost.
Register: Provide information in advance to your local police department and/or a national registry, such as the Take Me Home or If I Need Help programs. If emergency personnel have your child's information readily available, they will be able to communicate it more quickly to search parties.
There are two main categories of tracking devices on the market today:
Bluetooth-Enabled Devices: Bluetooth devices (example) are relatively inexpensive and can be used to alert caregivers when a person moves out of a predefined "safe" range. These types of devices determine their location using a GPS-enabled "tethered" device (like your smart phone) and can be very useful if your child does not wander out of range of the tethered device.
GPS-Enabled Devices: GPS devices (example 1, example 2 and example 3) have their own GPS technology and therefore can operate anywhere that the devices can reach a satellite. Most of these devices have an up-front equipment cost and an additional monthly service cost to maintain GPS locating services.
Note: Technology changes frequently and new devices come to the market all the time. If you know of a product or service not listed here, please contact us so we can keep our families informed.