Amber Alerts: When can they be issued?

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OKLAHOMA CITY - It is one of parents' worst nightmares; your child is missing and could be in danger.

One tool law enforcement officials use to quickly find missing children is an Amber Alert.

But a nationwide Amber Alert can only be issued in certain situations.

The U.S. Department of Justice suggests following guidelines when issuing an alert:

1. Law enforcement must confirm the child has been abducted.
2. Officials must have reasonable belief the child is at serious risk of being injured or even dying.
3. Authorities must have a sufficient description of the child so the community can accurately identify him or her.
4. The child must be 17 years old or younger.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, these rules are in place to ensure the quality of the system.

Officials said overuse and abuse of Amber Alerts will weaken the system's effectiveness.

MORE: Complete information on Amber Alerts

In Oklahoma, a person can face jail time and a $1,000 fine for giving authorities false or inaccurate information to encourage or trigger an Amber Alert.

To report a missing or lost child, call 911 or contact the OSBI at (405) 290-7770.

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