A Brief History
of National Child Safety Council
National Child Safety Council (NCSC) is the oldest and largest 501(c)(3) federally, tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization dedicated entirely to the safety of children in the U.S. However, over the years, NCSC has expanded its scope to include adults and seniors.
In 1955, after learning that more children in the U.S. die from accidents than all communicable diseases combined, Police Safety Service, as the Council was first known, was formed. By visiting police agencies and schools, ideas for mitigating this tragedy were explored. From this research, an effort to reduce the number of children dying from accidents through prevention education began. Police Safety Service was soon renamed to Child Safety Council and then later to National Child Safety Council (NCSC) as efforts expanded.
A law enforcement partner since 1955, NCSC is the only child safety organization with a network of safety coordinators working to support public safety agencies nationwide in their safety education efforts. These materials are distributed through community programs, events, and schools.
The Council has created an efficient inventory, warehouse, and shipping system to deliver the high quality and timely service required by individual law enforcement departments. The 45,000 square foot National Headquarters, located in Jackson, Michigan, is where this process takes place.
Our building houses offices, a mailroom & shipping department, a copy layout department, a printing department, direct mail, archives, and research & development department. Our staff takes pride in assuring that local law enforcement departments across the nation have their programs processed in a timely manner.
National Child Safety Council leads the industry by providing hundreds of public safety organizations across the U.S. with millions of pieces of safety material annually.
NCSC Promo for Police
NCSC Promo for Sheriff
Although NCSC safety educational materials are used nationwide, NCSC is perhaps best known for the Missing Children Milk Carton Program it initiated and coordinated in the 1980s and 1990s. This program created unparalleled awareness of the child abduction issue worldwide.
Many of NCSC’s materials feature our child-friendly and non-threatening mascot, Safetypup®.
NCSC provides local law enforcement departments with the most comprehensive resource of safety education materials in the world. The Council’s in-house Research and Development Department is the only one of its kind in the country.
Experienced educators, artists, writers, and technicians create original materials designed for all age groups, including: folders, placemats, color/activity sheets, books, games, stickers, and other educational tools.
Efforts are made to compile and provide current and authoritative information that is educationally correct, age appropriate, and appealing to children, teens, adults, and seniors alike.
NCSC Safety Coordinators
NCSC Safety Coordinators provide local departments nationwide with the tools they need to help save lives through their customized programs & services.
NCSC Safety Coordinators attend international, national, state, and local conventions to familiarize departments with Safetypup® and the child safety materials he represents.
Plaques and awards are presented to police departments and sheriff offices that have had long-standing programs using NCSC materials and the Safetypup® character. An initial award is in the form of an engraved plaque. Quite often, a new plaque is presented representing 5 years, 10 years, etc. These plaques are proudly displayed on department office walls or in lobbies.
Awards Presented to NCSC
President Ronald Reagan White House Letter
NCSC received a White House letter of congratulations for our missing children’s efforts from President Ronald Reagan in February of 1985.
United States Congressional Advisory Board
This Foundation award was presented to our founder by the United States Congressional Advisory Board in grateful recognition of the outstanding services of H.R. Wilkinson as a Chairmen’s Advisor.
Safetypup® was first introduced to the world on February 12, 1985, by NCSC founder H.R. Wilkinson, at a news conference in Washington, D.C., with award-winning actress Rita Moreno serving as a spokeswoman.
The conference was carried on CNN News, Good Morning America, and many others news stations and newspapers across the United States.
Safetypup® was created to make learning about safety issues fun, entertaining, and non-threatening. Today, Safetypup® is known by millions of children & adults from all over the U.S. and viewed as a trusted safety friend.
Safetypup® appears in NCSC safety awareness and prevention education programs and materials for law enforcement officers and teachers. This adds continuity to the programs and identity to the organization. Safetypup® is a registered trademark of NCSC.
Safetypup® has joined the ranks of many law enforcement agencies throughout the nation. Law officers have used their puppet versions of Safetypup® for presentations to children in hundreds of schools.
Safetypup® has appeared on a variety of milk cartons featuring educational safety tips. Accordingly, his picture has been distributed in the billions to school lunchrooms and homes across the country.
Since his introduction, Safetypup® has proven to be a successful learning tool used by law enforcement officers and teachers across the country.
The Safetypup® Puppet
The Safetypup® Puppet was created in 1985 in our Research and Development Department. During development, NCSC contacted Jim Henson of Children’s Television Workshop (Sesame Street, Muppets, etc.) for help with the designing of the Safetypup® puppet and character. Mr. Henson offered the services of his head designer, Bonnie Erikson, who spent 3 days at NCSC helping fine tune the puppet.
Safetypup® was introduced on television and in newspapers across the nation. More than 9,000 Safetypup® puppets have been distributed throughout the United States through schools, as well as police and sheriff departments, since 1985.
Safetypup® Milk Carton Safety Tips Program
News items and stories have reported that preventive tips are very effective, as stories of children eluding would-be abductors have surfaced.
Although the actual number of cartons distributed is not known, one of our milk carton manufacturers, Potlatch, analyzed just two of their accounts and estimated that those two accounts had distributed millions of cartons to the schools they service in just one month.
As an offshoot of the Missing Children Milk Carton Program, Safetypup® was featured on half-pint milk cartons with safety messages to help educate kids and combat child abduction.
These half-pint milk cartons were delivered by the millions to school lunchrooms every day. Many teachers and their students made a project of cutting out the specially-designed safety tips from the cartons and kept them in scrapbooks as a constant reminder about safety.
The Safetypup® Mascot Costume
The Safetypup® Mascot Costume was created by the Research and Development Department and patented by National Child Safety Council.
The Safetypup® costume includes a cape, pants, shirt, paw spats, paw gloves, and a fan-cooled head. It’s designed to allow free movement.
Children respond to the costume in a positive manner and recognize Safetypup® wherever he goes.
Law enforcement departments use the Safetypup® costume for various public functions, including:
- School Assemblies
- Grand Openings
- Festivals & Fairs
- Classroom Discussions
- Other Community Events
Safetypup® in the Field
Do you have photos of Safetypup® that you’d like to share?
Missing Children Milk Carton Program
National Child Safety Council is perhaps best known for its efforts to address the nationwide tragedy of missing and abducted children.
It was discovered that in most incidents of abduction, the children were being taken out of state, and oftentimes across the country. In an effort to help law enforcement safely recover these children, NCSC created the Missing Children Milk Carton Program. In December of 1984, NCSC initiated the first nationally coordinated Missing Children Milk Carton Program, which within weeks was implemented by over 700 independent dairies across the nation through the cooperation of milk carton manufacturers, including: Potlatch, International Paper, Westvaco, Champion, & Weyerhauser.
Photographs and biographies of missing children were placed on millions of milk carton side panels, bringing the faces of abducted children and the reality of this national disaster directly to countless Americans and individuals worldwide.
As with all NCSC programs, all the layouts and camera-ready artwork were supplied by the Council without charge of any kind to carton manufacturers. Hundreds of millions of milk carton side panels featuring photographs and biographies of missing children were printed.
Hundreds of national, regional, and local businesses, too numerous to mention individually, later joined the program by donating space on packaging or printing informational flyers, posters, and other handouts to help our nation’s missing children efforts.
Etan Patz Case: Man Found Guilty Of Murder, Kidnapping | NBC Nightly News
More Missing Children Efforts
Missing Children Grocery Bag Program
After realizing the success of the missing children photos and Safetypup® Prevention Tips on the milk cartons, in January of 1985, National Child Safety Council joined forces with grocery bag manufacturers as a means of circulating photos of missing children, as well as Safetypup® child safety messages.
Missing children’s pictures and Safetypup®’s safety messages were introduced by the 4 largest grocery bag manufacturers and others, including:
- Duro Paper Bag Manufacturing Company
- Westvaco – Bag Division
- Union Camp Corporation
- Harlem Paper Product Corporation
- Twin County Corporation (which distributes to Foodtown, D’Agoonstino, & more)
Various layouts were provided by NCSC that included Safetypup® and his preventive tips that were targeted toward parents and their children. Feedback from the public reported that the bag panels were cut out and kept to develop thorough references as new photos and biographies were printed.
Telephone Directory Efforts
Soon many telephone directory companies became concerned about child safety as well and wanted to participate in the program.
Many requested layouts of prevention tips and pictures of Safetypup® to educate children about the safety rules they need to know to prevent an abduction from happening.
Many chose to place their layouts in the advertisement sections of their publications.
Department of Transportation
In 1986, National Child Safety Council was asked to help develop a brochure in cooperation with the Department of Transportation, under Elizabeth Hanford Dole, the Secretary of Transportation at that time. The brochure “Kids & Teens In Flight” outlined safety rules for parents concerning children flying unattended.
There were 1,360 brochures printed between the years of 1986 and 1988.
This program was implemented by:
United Airlines, Western Airlines, New York Airports, New Jersey Airports, Norfolk Port & Industrial Authority, Tuscon Airport Authority, Northwest Orient Airlines, Pan Am Airlines, Piedmont Airlines, Republic Airlines, TWA, American West Airlines, Braniff Airlines, Continental Airlines, Eastern Airlines, and Midway Airlines.
National Child Watch Campaign®
NCSC spearheaded another ongoing nationwide abducted children effort, the National Child Watch Campaign®, which was a cooperative program coordinated by NCSC and supported by the American Gas Association (AGA) involving approximately 140 gas, electric, and telephone utilities around the country.
NCSC supplied participating utilities with photographs and biographical information on children listed in the Abducted Children Directory®, along with preventive safety tips which were used as “stuffers” in millions of monthly bills, newsletters, and posters. Many companies had listings on the sides of their service vehicles to increase awareness.
Bring Them Home America®
A public service campaign, Bring Them Home America®, was sponsored by Home Shopping Club (HSC®), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Home Shopping Network, to help locate America’s missing children and reunite them with their families.
HSC® provided a program, free-of-charge, featuring 120 biographies of missing children, Safetypup® public service announcements, and safety tips. The 30- and 60-minute programs were distributed to over 245 local cable systems and over 35 million households across the country.
Bring Them Home America® was first showcased on Home Shopping Club in 1991 on Christmas Day. The program was aired all day in lieu of regularly scheduled programming and continued for several years, gaining momentum and popularity.
The program was a finalist for the 1994 Golden Cable ACE Award, the cable industry’s most prestigious honor for special programming.
Missing Children Resources
The combined efforts of National Child Safety Council, CompuServe, and Quick Pictures Forum made it possible for law enforcement departments throughout the world to easily access a database, the first of its kind, containing the portraits and descriptions of abducted children.
Abducted Children Directory®
In 1984, NCSC introduced the new Abducted Children Directory® containing the first comprehensive free-of-charge listing of abducted children. It was delivered to all police and sheriff departments, state police headquarters, and FBI offices; all governors and attorneys general nationwide; and to the U.S. Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
The Missing Children Directory
In 1985, The Missing Children Directory® was distributed to principals of public and private schools in the U.S.
This cooperative venture between NCSC and QSP, a subsidiary of the Reader’s Digest Association, Inc., involved virtually every school district in the U.S.
In support of the effort, NCSC operated a 24-hour-a-day, 1-800 hotline, through which dedicated and fully trained professional specialists received missing children sighting reports.
NCSC also developed the patented LIFE TAG® emergency medical information microfilm viewer, which was a small pendant that hung on a necklace or keychain worn or carried by children, the elderly, and the handicapped. LIFE TAG® supplied instant medical and identification information to rescue personnel in the event of an accident, injury, sudden illness, or other emergency.
Sharing the Message of Child Safety
National Child Safety Council is approached by various organizations, public relations firms, and corporations to enlist its help in spreading the message of child safety, many times, utilizing the Council’s Safetypup® mascot character and child safety messages in national programs. Some of the recognized and more successful arrangements with organizations can be found here.
Tap the titles below to learn more.
MCI & Bloomingdale’s
In 1993, NCSC was approached by MCI to help promote a Kid Card to be distributed throughout the country.
The information was first printed in English, and as the program expanded, it merited a Spanish version printing. For our contribution to this program, National Child Safety Council and Safetypup® were included on the publications and Safetypup® costumes were used at each Bloomingdale’s event held in several malls.
Information about this program reached: (The Detroit News, The PR Newswire Association Inc., NEWSGRID, The Washington Post, Glenside News – Times Chronicle, and The Mainliner.) Approximately 150,000 MCI Kid Cards were distributed.
The program included:
- A plastic card featuring Safetypup® on which kids could keep important emergency telephone numbers.
- A parent’s book to help teach kids telephone safety rules.
MCI hosted Kid Card events in the following cities where MCI offices are located: Phoenix, Arizona; Austin, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Arlington, Virginia (with Virginia’s First Lady, Susan Allen, present); Sacramento, California; and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The program was announced:
- in freestanding newspaper inserts
- in in-ad certificates
- on in-store shelf-talkers
- on in-store risers
- in television billboard spots featuring all major Clairol brands
More than 188,000,000 coupons were distributed in a freestanding insert in the Sunday edition of 47,000,000 newspapers nationwide promoting the program featuring Safetypup®. Clairol also offered consumers the opportunity to obtain a free Life Tag™ (Emergency Medical Microfilm Viewer developed by NCSC) with their coupon redemption. Included with each Life Tag™ was a booklet on safety basics developed by NCSC.
In 1991, Safetypup® and NCSC teamed up with Dow Chemical to help put together a booklet on bathroom safety. This 24-page booklet was offered in various ads in magazines along with contests on safety tips.
The booklet featured safety tips on topics such as:
- falls due to water
- hot water
- electricity & water
Proctor & Gamble
In 1991, National Child Safety Council joined Proctor & Gamble (Sundor Brands, Inc.) and Hawaiian Punch in the effort to educate children on drug awareness and the use of 9-1-1.
The Hawaiian Punch trademark character, “Punchy®”, was published along with Safetypup® on the inside back cover of tens of thousands of drug educational manuals that were distributed through NCSC’s programs nationwide. The Council also received Punchy® Telephones, which were donated by Proctor & Gamble. These were used in classrooms by departments to help teach children the proper way to dial 9-1-1 and to report a fire.
Sonic Industries, Inc.
Sonic Industries, Inc. and 466 of their Sonic Restaurants joined hands with Safetypup® and NCSC to participate in a Safety Meal Promotion. The promotion included a safety meal box with a set of crayons & four safety booklets. There were 110,000 copies printed of each booklet, or 440,000 total booklets printed.
These materials were not only enjoyed by the children, but they taught valuable safety tips, too. All materials featured NCSC’s character Safetypup® and on the back of each of the books was an invitation for kids to join the Safetypup® Fan Club.
Race Against Drugs
A nationwide drug prevention and education program aimed at educating today’s youth about the dangers of substance abuse was developed in May 1990 in partnership with: National Child Safety Council, Department of Justice (FBI, DEA, OJJDP), Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services, and 22 motorsports sanctioning organizations.
With the assistance of FBI and DEA agents and America’s motorsports celebrities, the program conveyed to youth that there is no such thing as “harmless” drug use. Additionally, through the color, speed, and excitement of motorsports, the program provided young people with creative options to deal successfully with drug issues that face them on a day-to-day basis.
NCSC is proud that this was the first time in the history of the FBI that such a partnership had been established.
Since its inception, a national network of committed and dedicated volunteers has implemented over 2,000 programs at shopping malls, schools, communities, and motorsports events throughout the country.
Program materials included student workbooks, teacher’s guides, videos, posters, decals, etc. One unique and exciting program option was the “Adopt-A-School” program in which students at each school prepared posters and/or wrote essays to compete for up to $2,000 in scholarships.
The success of these programs was attributed to the ingenuity, participation, and support from individual race car drivers; the racing industry; local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies; educators; the business community; and volunteers. The program was supported by a private-public partnership receiving funding from the federal government and from companies such as K-Mart Corporation and Proctor & Gamble-Tide Brand.
A Kid Safe® event became a community event when dedicated law enforcement officers, fire departments, and other organizations joined the community hospital in presenting vital information to children. The day was an active blend of education and fun.
The children and their parents followed an illustrated Trail Guide to Safety which summarized important points from each stop during the day. Kid Safe® Events often included a visit from Safetypup®. The events generated a lot of enthusiasm, as well as newspaper and television coverage.
Children obtained information on:
- Fire Safety
- Traffic Safety
- Water Safety
- Emergency Telephone Training
- Emergency First Aid
- Responsible Babysitting
- Drug Abuse Prevention
NCSC teamed up with A&W to organize an A&W Root Beer Halloween Safety Promotion, featuring our superhero character, Safetypup®.
A variety of promotional items were made available to grocery and convenience stores, including posters, safety glow strips, display cards, etc. An inflatable Safetypup®, standing 4 feet tall and carrying a 2-foot trick-or-treat bag featuring a Halloween safety message, appeared in displays in the most popular spots of the stores across the nation.
Bank of Baltimore
Another first for National Child Safety Council was a joint venture with the Bank of Baltimore in 1990 to introduce the NCSC Safetypup® Visa card.
The NCSC Safetypup® Visa card had a very low percentage rate (16.8%), a low annual fee ($20), and many enhancements found only in more expensive credit cards at the time. It was a fundraiser for NCSC and acted as an additional positive tool for NCSC because of the Safetypup® exposure.
The program, in turn, donated one-half of all annual fees, as well as 3/8 of 1% of all interest charges made on each purchase using the Safetypup® Visa card. These funds were dedicated toward further development of NCSC’s child safety projects.
Chase’s Calendar of Events
Safetypup®‘s Birthday is February 12th
Chase’s Calendar of Events is the standard reference for event and observance information in the U.S. Thousands of libraries, broadcasters & print media, websites, and more look to Chase’s for interesting facts every day.
Safetypup®‘s birthday has appeared in Chase’s Calendar of Events since 1993, generating hundreds of calls a year requesting information on Safetypup®, his birthday, and our educational safety materials.
Because of the interest in Safetypup®, hundreds of Safetypup® Birthday Packets have been provided to classrooms and individuals.
Deka Plastics, Inc.
Deka Plastics, Inc., of Elizabeth, NJ, created a campaign to promote child abuse prevention education and awareness.
Deka Plastics’ plan was to market children’s mugs using cute, animated characters which delivered appealing and instructional safety messages. The fact that Deka donated 5% of all of its proceeds to help NCSC’s fight to keep children safe definitely exhibited that Deka’s corporate heart is in the right place, too!
The series of four mugs, featuring messages on playground safety, street safety, telephone safety, and home safety, were available at K-mart stores nationwide. They were also designed to further parent/child dialogue about the problems of abuse and molestation.