Fingerprinting children has become more common in recent years; you might wonder whether you should have this done and, if so, whether or not you should allow local authorities to keep the records. Fingerprints serve as a definitive way to identify your child for their entire life, since they don't change as your child grows. However, there are potential privacy issues with letting government officials store your child's fingerprints.
Fingerprints are unique; although parents and children's fingerprints bear some resemblance to one another, they're never identical, not even in identical twins. Your child's fingerprints generally don't change as he gets older; it's very difficult to obliterate fingerprints deliberately, chemist David Katz reports. Fingerprints contains loops, whorls or arches in a pattern. If your child disappears at an age where he can't tell anyone his name or address, fingerprints can provide conclusive identification even years later.
Keeping Records at Home
You can buy kits that allow you to fingerprint your child at home and keep the prints in a safe place. Some kits also include a DNA swab, so you can preserve your child's DNA as well. Keep fingerprints in a fireproof container or in a safety deposit box. To record your child's fingerprints, first wash his hands. Roll his finger onto the ink pad from one side to another; if you press too hard, the print might not be readable. If you have any doubts about the quality of your print job, take your record to a local police station and ask for an opinion.
Having Children Fingerprinted by Professionals
Local police officers sometimes come to schools and fingerprint children whose parents have given written permission for the procedure. The benefits of having this done by professionals is twofold: they're more likely to get quality fingerprints, and they can store the prints in a system that's probably more secure than storing them at home. While this is an easy way to have your child's fingerprints on file, you might have concerns about doing this. Officials can access your child's fingerprints from their database at any time in the future, which you might consider a privacy issue.
Having your child fingerprinted won't protect him from being abducted or getting lost. He's no less likely to become a missing child statistic if you have him fingerprinted. The benefit to fingerprinting lies in recovery, not prevention. Having the fingerprints on record does provide an insurance policy in the unlikely event you ever need them.
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