Child ID Kits Made Available to Parents

Ralphs grocery stores, along with five major soft-drink companies, are making child fingerprinting and identification kits available to more than 2 million families in Southern California, store officials said Thursday.

The kits, included in major newspapers advertising Wednesday and today, could help police find a missing child if parents complete them, Ralph Macias, manager of the Ralphs at Balboa and Genesee avenues, said. More than 100,000 additional kits, in English and Spanish, are available in any of the 126 Ralphs stores in San Diego, Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Missing children have become a serious problem in the United States, San Diego County Supervisor Susan Golding said Thursday. In many cases parents could not provide police with necessary information to identify the children.

A completed kit can provide police with fingerprints, a photo and a complete description of a child, including scars and allergic reactions.

Golding suggested that parents explain to their children the things they should do to avoid being kidnaped. Completed kits should be stored so they are available to give to police during and emergency.

"As parents, we must make a conscientious effort to tell our children about the facts of child stealing, and tell them early," Golding said.

The kits were developed in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and New York-based Child Find Inc. Other sponsors include Coke, 7UP, Pepsi-Cola, Royal Crown Cola and Dr Pepper bottling companies.

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