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Code Adam

Code Adam, created in memory of 6-year-old Adam Walsh, is a powerful search tool for lost and potentially abducted children. It is one of the country's largest child safety programs and is currently used in tens of thousands of establishments across the nation.

The program is offered free of charge and is easy to use. When a customer reports a missing child a special Code Adam alert is issued on the premises. For more information, call 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678) or email codeadam@ncmec.org.


How it works

Code Adam logo

Code Adam decals are posted at the entrances of participating businesses. Employees are trained to take the following steps when Code Adam is activated:


  1. Obtain a detailed description of the child, including what he or she is wearing.
  2. Page "Code Adam." Describe the child's physical features and clothing.
  3. Designated employees will immediately stop working, look for the child and monitor front entrances to ensure the child does not leave the premises.
  4. Call law enforcement if the child is not found within 10 minutes.
  5. If the child is found and appears to have been lost and unharmed, reunite the child with the searching family member.
  6. If the child is found accompanied by someone other than a parent or legal guardian, make reasonable efforts to delay their departure without putting the child, staff or visitors at risk. Immediately notify law enforcement and give details about the person accompanying the child.
  7. Cancel the Code Adam page after the child is found or law enforcement arrives.

The Code Adam story

On July 27, 1981, 6-year-old Adam Walsh and his mother went to a department store about a mile away from their home to shop for lamps. When they entered the store, Adam saw several children playing video games and asked if he could join them. His mother let him stay while she went to the lamp department, which was about 75 feet away. Because the lamp she wanted was not in stock, she returned in less than 10 minutes, but could not find Adam.

Code Adam helps parents and children reunite. WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC

After looking for Adam on her own for two hours, someone finally called the local police department. By the end of that week, thousands of fliers with Adam’s photo were distributed in the local area. Sixteen days after Adam disappeared from the store his body was found and identified.

The Code Adam program was named in memory of Adam and is implemented in establishments across the country to help ensure other lost children are recovered safely and quickly.

EMCOR logo
Code Adam is proudly sponsored by EMCOR
Group, Inc.

Copyright © 2014 National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. All rights reserved.

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