As air travel becomes more and more a part of everyday life, airports are becoming more complex facilities. Multiple terminals, the proliferation of retail and food service outlets, circuitous layouts, front- and back-of-house areas, varying levels of security, and large crowds all make an airport more difficult to navigate, requiring intricate signage to ensure that patrons don’t get lost. In this environment, should a young child be separated from their traveling companions, it may be difficult for them to find their way back.

If a child becomes separated from their family in an airport, they can be extremely difficult to locate. Many areas that a small child can access before anyone even notices they’re gone can put them in hazardous situations or out of sight of airport personnel. Locating the child is obviously of paramount importance to the frightened family, and the child may not be old enough to understand how to find their way to airport staff who can help them. In these situations, security may need to step in to help find a lost child and bring them back before any problems arise for the child or the airport – all while making sure the family is on time for their flight.

However, the security personnel at airports are already extremely busy with the many threats they must deal with on a continual basis. Security personnel are constantly on the lookout for issues, from potential terrorism to disgruntled employees that may cause issues to the growing crowds waiting to get on their flights. Having to locate a lost child and reunite them with their family could divert significant resources away from protecting everyone else within the airport and ensuring the safety of flights as they depart and arrive. Fortunately, many security technologies on the market today deliver dynamic features that help make searches for lost children simple, fast and accurate.

Intelligent analytics in place on many modern video management systems (VMS) can help to quickly locate lost children and aid security officers in reconnecting them with their families. People-tracking analytics are able to scan thousands of people in seconds, using predetermined search criteria— height, hair color, shirt color, and others— to search faster and more accurately than is possible by human eyes alone and locate an individual meeting that criteria. Security officers can then minimize time wasted with on-the-ground searching by notifying officers nearby and keeping them updated with the location of a missing child as they move through the airport.

Analytics can also be leveraged to detect lost children entering hazardous areas before they’re even reported by their worried families. By setting alarms to be triggered by a VMS when a perimeter or barrier is breached without authorization, when movement is detected in the opposite direction of traffic, or when doors are opened with force, security officers are notified immediately, allowing them to proactively respond to possible incidents and helping to prevent harm to anyone in an unauthorized area. The use of this analytics software can even allow for unmanned monitoring, freeing up security teams to perform additional tasks.

In addition to analytics, many surveillance cameras are equipped with features that can assist in locating lost children. Multi-sensor panoramic cameras allow operators a better view of the entirety of the facility, covering high and low areas that other cameras might miss and giving officers a better view of people who are lower to the ground.

When a child goes missing in a complex facility like an airport, time is of the essence to reunite them with their worried family and prevent them from accidentally harming themselves or others. With modern cameras and the right integrated analytics on your surveillance system, you can limit the manpower required to find a lost child and locate them even more efficiently than with an extensive ground-level search, ensuring that they keep out of danger and can even still make their flight.