PECULIAR, Mo. -- On Saturday, dozens of Missouri children were fingerprinted, had their photograph and a DNA sample taken for their own protection.
It's a parent's worst nightmare, but law enforcement officials say such steps are just one way to be prepared if your child were ever to run away or disappear. And best of all, this preparation was absolutely free.
Peace of mind is what brought many parents to the Peculiar Fire Station on Saturday.
"Heaven forbid anything happen to my child. I can give this to the police and I've done everything I could to protect them," said Larry Walters, one of the parents attending the event.
The Missouri Child Identification and Protection Program ID's children for free, sending parents home with vital information about their child.
A digital photograph, fingerprint, dental impression and ID card were given to every parent in one manilla envelope.
"I wish we could get everybody to do it," Sgt. Michael McLaughlin of the Peculiar Police Department told FOX 4 News.
Sgt. McLaughlin stressed when a child can't be found, minutes matter. Having your child already ID's saves valuable time.
"Anytime a situation like that occurs, the quicker we can get the information entered into the system and get the broadcast out to other local law enforcement agencies, the quicker we can try to get the child a safe return home," he said.
The Masonic Childrens Foundation conducts the program for free. The Masons say it's their way of giving back to the community.
"We hope this program never has to be used. It's sad that it does have to be used in this day in time, but we're ready for that just in case," said the Missouri Masonic Childrens Foundation's Brad Fowler.
It's one simple way parents can be ready if the unthinkable ever happened to their family
The next child ID event scheduled for the Kansas City metro is in Oak Grove on Saturday, May 11.