Long Island is full of safe and respectable communities, but with the world being such an uncertain place a little piece of mind is certainly a welcome thing—especially when it comes to your children.
To that end, Nassau County has implemented the Kid Pix program, which is a free, comprehensive identification card containing everything a first responder would need to know about your child in the event of an emergency.
Danielle McKeown, an assistant to Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano in his constituent affairs office, was heading a recent Kid Pix event at the Jericho Public Library, where parents could go to have an ID made up for their kids, free of charge.
“We’ve been doing this ever since the county executive took office five years ago,” she said. “We been doing this at different libraries and schools, and we often partner up with local senators to help get the word out.”
In addition to kids, the cards are also available for seniors and other vulnerable members of the population as well, as McKeown said that being able to arm emergency workers with any information about a missing, sick or injured person will help them get the assistance they need in time to make a difference.
“God forbid, in case of an emergency, no one wants to see a child get lost or worse,” she said. “The Kid Pix is great to show law enforcement…it has a picture, a fingerprint, contact information, hair color, eye color, gender…it’s just a great way, in case of an emergency, for parents to have all that information ready to show the authorities. It can save valuable time, and that can save lives.”
Barbara Kessler, director of the Jericho Library, said that she was happy that she was able to take part in this service to the Jericho community.
“I think that this is a very important thing to have, and I think it would be wonderful for adults as well…everybody should have a card like this,” she said. “The Jericho Library is proud to be hosting Nassau County as they offer their Kid Pix program, and we’re delighted by the turnout.”
The process of creating a Kid Pix card is surprisingly easy and quick—a parent or guardian fills out the requested information about their child on a form. That form is then turned into one of the county workers, who then enter it into their computer. The child is then digitally photographed and their fingerprints scanned, and once everything is ready, their Kid Pix ID is printed out on the spot thanks to a portable card printer. The ID is then presented to the youth along with a folder containing information and fun worksheets on keeping safe.
McKeown noted that turnout for the Kid Pix event was heavy. The children’s library had been running an event earlier that day that was just then letting out, and pretty much every parent decided to bring their kids in to take advantage of the service while it was available.
Kim Yu was at the event with his wife and three children and said that with so many little ones to keep track of, having Kid Pix for each and every one of them would certainly make him sleep more soundly at night.
“You never know…if someone goes missing, and you’re in a panic, you might forget some valuable piece of information that could make a difference,” he said. “This way, you have everything right there, and the police will have whatever they need to address the situation. It’s a secure feeling, and I’m glad the county is offering these IDs today.”
Farzana Aziz brought her two sons down to get their Kid Pix made. Aside from having a all their vital stats all in one place, she said, the IDs make them feel all grown-up as well.
“Basically, it’s security…we have a reference with the county in case something happens,” she said. “As they say, hope for the best but prepare for the worst…I hope we never have to use these, but in the event of an emergency, I’d be happy to have them handy.”
Lena and her granddaughter Gabby had been coming from the library’s “Lasermania” event when they say the Kid Pix sign in the lobby and decided to take part in the event.
“I think that if a child is missing or hurt, this is a good way to get information to the police or EMTs so that they can do their job,” she said. “I didn’t even know this was happening today, but when we were leaving we saw the sign and thought it would be a great idea to go in and sign up for the Kid Pix.”
“Now I’ll have an ID card, just like a grown-up,” Gabby added. “I can’t wait.”