An AAP policy statement suggesting that the problem of missing children might be much smaller than the public has been led to believe has received widespread media attention.

The statement, prepared by the AAP Committee on Early Childhood, Adoption and Dependent Care, urges pediatricians to educate parents and children in preventive safety techniques and not scare them with fingerprinting and other identification programs.

The committee writes in the August 1986 Pediatrics that, contrary to public opinion, abduction of a child by a stranger is the least frequent category of missing children. In 1984, the FBI recorded nearly 350,000 reported cases of missing children, but only 67 of those children were kidnapped by strangers.

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