Code Adam program is a strictly defined procedure for employees to follow when someone reports a lost or missing child. The program was originally created by Wal-Mart Stores in cooperation with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 1994 and has since been implemented by many other stores and facilities throughout the United States. Its procedures train employees of various venues to systematically look for lost children in the crucial minutes following a suspected loss or abduction.
Even though the specifics vary from store to store, the Code Adam procedures generally include the following:
1. Employee will ask for a detailed description of the child, including name, age, gender, race, height, weight, hair and eye color, and a description of the child's clothing and shoes. The name is requested for identification purposes only and is never announced since it may provide a potential abductor with additional information to convince the child to accompany them.
2. The employee uses the nearest in-house phone or other storewide communication to page a Code Adam and broadcasts the child's description
3. Designated employees monitor the entrances and exits while other employees drop everything to look for the missing child.
4. If the child is not located within 10 minutes the local police are called.
5. If the child is found accompanied by someone other than the parent or guardian some stores, allow employees to make reasonable efforts to delay their departure, provided it does not put the employee(s) or child at risk. Other stores simply ask their employees to note as much detail as they can about the adult, including a license plate.
6. If the child is found simply lost and unharmed they are reunited with the adult searching for them.
The Code Adam program is named in honor of Adam Walsh, a six-year-old boy, whose abduction from the Sears shop in a Florida shopping mall in 1981 helped to bring child abduction to national attention.