Amusement parks, beaches, tourist attractions, concerts, and local fairs attract families each year. Such outings can be exciting and enjoyable excursions, but panic sets in immediately when parents lose track of their children. It takes mere seconds for curious children to wander off, and as the minutes tick by and kids don’t return, parents may be overcome with anxiety.
Many parents have lost track of their children in crowded public places. Having a plan in place can save families anxiety when traveling through crowded locations.
Take an up-to-date photo
Snap a digital head-to-toe picture the day of the trip. This can make it easier for authorities to identify lost children. In a stressful situation, parents may forget what their children were wearing when they went missing. A photo taken the day of the event can help authorities.
Dress children in bright colors
Dressing children in very bright colors makes them more visible in a crowd. Lime green, yellow and red clothing can help make children more noticeable.
Write down parental contact information
Some parents tuck a piece of paper with their cell phone numbers in their child’s pocket, while others write the number directly on a kid’s arm with a marker or pen. Some parents even apply temporary tattoos indicating their home and/or mobile numbers. Such efforts make it easy for authorities or other adults to contact parents if a child needs assistance.
Establish an emergency plan
Families should come up with a plan for reuniting if they get separated. This may include children going up to an authority figure for help or another mother with children. Families also can choose a meetup location, such as a highly visible spot in a theme park (think roller coaster or Ferris wheel) or at the front gate. Upon arriving at your destination, go over the plan so it is fresh in everyone’s mind.
Identify people children can look to for help
Kids who were taught “stranger danger” may hesitate to go up to other people and ask for help. Parents can identify lifeguards or workers who can assist them should kids become separated from their parents.
Assign an adult to each child
It’s easy for one parent to think the other parent is watching. In a family of four, Mom might be watching Joseph while Dad is watching Caitlin. A clear plan means parents can focus their attention accordingly to keep kids safe.
Use a child safety harness
Safety harnesses can calm the nerves of parents worried about wandering toddlers. This device tethers a child to his or her parent or guardian, preventing kids from wandering off.
Parents never expect to lose their children, but losing kids in crowded public places is possible. Being prepared and acting calmly can help parents quickly find their lost children.
Metro Creative Graphics Inc.