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by Abigail Van Buren

Cell Phone Snap Shots Can Help Find Missing Children

DEAR ABBY: I have an idea that may prove useful to parents. I have worked in law enforcement for more than 18 years, including as a state police dispatcher. There are often stories in the media of children lost or abducted in the blink of an eye.

Because of the proliferation of cell phones with cameras, there is now a way to help law enforcement officials get the word out via Amber Alerts and news bulletins.

Parents should take advantage of these photo opportunities. Before leaving home for the day on a shopping trip or family outing, take a picture of your children in the outfits they are wearing that day. Once you are all back home, safe and sound, you can delete that picture and the next day take a new one. That way, you'll always have a current photo of how your child looks "today," not six months or more ago at a special event. You also won't have to rely on your memory of exactly what your child was wearing if he or she should go missing.

Time is of the essence, so take advantage of the technology that's available in today's world. -- JANET IN AURORA, ILL.

DEAR JANET: That's a great idea. I am sure many thousands of parents will be grateful for your suggestion. Thank you!