(WSYR-TV) — An entire community searched for 9-year-old Charlotte Sena, the little girl who went missing in Saratoga County over the weekend before she was found Monday night.
Sena was reported missing on Saturday night, after she vanished during a camping trip with her family and friends at Moreau Lake State Park in Saratoga County, about 45 miles north of Albany. She went missing around 6:15 p.m. Saturday evening while riding her bike and was found around 7:00 p.m. Monday
New York State Police now sharing advice for parents who may be wondering what to do if their child goes missing.
“It all starts at home. So make sure that you talk to your kids, and there is no age. Just talk to your kids about what would happen if they did go missing or they got separated from you. A lot of times kids get very scared so if you do like practice scenarios and they know to go talk to an adult or a police officer or somebody that looks like they could trust make sure you have that conversation with them so that they know what to do,” said Trooper Aga Dembinska, Troop C PIO.
Making sure your child knows their full name, their parent’s names, phone number, and address is also critical.
“Talk to your kids about you know what they want, what are their ideas, what do they think would happen if they got separated. I mean I’ve had that same situation happen with children that I’ve seen at the mall where they get separated from their parents and they get so anxious about it and they are so scared that they almost can’t speak,” said Trooper Dembinska.
“The other thing you want to talk to your children about is don’t go anywhere alone. Stay in groups, make sure you have the buddy system so that they are never separated and there’s always another child with them or an adult,” said Trooper Dembinska.
Also, telling your child what time they need to check in with you is critical.
“If you set a strict check-in time like they need to check in with you every five minutes, every 10 minutes you know never let your guard down. Always expect that something may happen,” said Trooper Dembinska.
Having a cell phone can also make a difference.
Apps such as Life360, and Find My iPhone can be used to locate a child. If you don’t want to get your child a phone just yet, there are other ways to know where they are, through things like tracking devices, like airtags.
“Just a quick check on Amazon and they have like necklaces where you can put those tags into, they have bracelets, they have almost like watches,” said Trooper Dembinska.
State police also say it’s critical to have a current and up-to-date photo of your child on your cell phone.