Playing it Safe fair offers free technology that helps halt abductions

URBANA -- Kids learned some serious lessons in safety at the 18th annual Playing it Safe fair Saturday, but there was one station that had parents asking questions too thanks to its free technology that aims to keep children out of harm's reach. 

Layla Khan knows the golden rules of staying safe.

"To be careful, and to never get lost," said Layla. "And to always stay close to your parent."

And her parents have taken steps to keep her close since she was born.

"When my daughter was very small, we did a program where they took her photograph, and documented her weight and we have a small ID card," said Layla's mother, Laura Khan. "But this was more extensive."

"This" being the Illinois Child Protection Program, or CHIP.

"We register the kids, we do finger prints, and we do a DNA, and we get their height and we get their weight," said Area CHIP Coordinator, Raymond Cummings. "And it all goes on a disc, a CD."

More than 150 of those CD's were made at the CHIP station during Saturday's Playing it Safe fair in Urbana, so that if any of those children ever go missing, parents can hand over that packet to authorities and give them tools to help locate their child.

"Hopefully we never have to use it," said Laura. "But if ever my child was lost, I'd love to be able to go to this, and provide this to authorities to start the process of finding her."

Because these CD's contain more than just standard information.

"We do a 45 second interview," said Cummings. "To get their mannerisms."

To give law enforcement more to look for if a search were ever started. Cummings knows of at least one instance when a CHIP CD helped halt an abduction and he wants this to give parents some peace of mind.

"Hopefully they will feel safer for their kids," said Cummings.

Because it's better to play it safe, than to be sorry.

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