There’s only a few weeks left until kids all across the country finish the school year. Which means it’s time to get excited about all the activities you have planned with your family this Summer! Of course, going to large public events or places like Disney or an Amusement park brings the fear that all moms experience at some point. It’s hard not having thoughts of somehow temporarily losing your child or getting separated in a crowd.
Unfortunately, it probably happens more than we’d like to know.
When you picture a busy public space, like a zoo or even a large park, you can see how even the most obedient of children can on occasion run off. It’s just not that hard for a young child to become absorbed in the experience and quickly run off to the next exhibit or place space.
However, there are many steps you can take to protect your child in a public place, as well as methods to help ensure their safety should the worst happen.
Be Prepared in case the unthinkable happens
When I came across this next idea, I was amazed at the genius simplicity of it. It is to write your cell phone number on your child’s wrist, and then cover it with a Liquid Band-Aid so that it doesn’t come off.
I haven’t had to remember my husbands cell number in like ten years. It’s in my phone, I hit his name, and it dials. I can kind of remember it, but not really, and I call him daily. My kid has never picked up a phone and actually dialed a number. He’d never remember my number.
The genius of this idea is that you’re basically tattooing your number on your kid so that they don’t have to remember it. If they get separated, the adult that finds them has what they need to call you and help get your child back in your hands.
Make sure they’re prepared
The second part of this strategy is to hammer home what they need to do if they become separated. Make sure they know to go to a responsible adult such a police officer or a security guard and show them their wrist to find mommy again.
This is something you’ll have to repetitively beat into their heads over time, but what you want is it to be natural for them if it ever happens. You don’t want them to panic or get scared any more than they will be, so if they remember this, then they can simply do it if they get lost.
You need to be prepared too
Upon arrival at a crowded public location, take quick pics of everyone.
If someone get separated, you’ll have an up to date photo of what your children are wearing, and this can help drastically reduce search times. It would provide a very accurate description that venue staff or police officers can circulate if they need to.
Yes, “stranger danger” applies just as much to our kids as it did when we were young. Of course, this is kind of age dependent, but stress that you can’t tell if someone is good or bad by the way that they look or talk. Help them understand that caution should be exercised around anyone that is not family or a friend.
By the same token, you should identify for them who should always be considered safe to approach, such as police officers, firefights, or EMTs.
Without scaring your children, it’s also important to emphasize the consequences that just wandering off can have. Try to plant that seed that keeps them from doing it in the first place.
Set a Rallying point
Finally, once a child is old enough, get into the habit of setting up a spot where you will agree to meet should you somehow get separated. Set a time and place. Then if your child does get separated, they can go to that place rather than trying to search for you and potentially getting even more lost.
While most public places are child-friendly, all it takes is for a child to go running off to get a parent completely freaked out. Don’t ruin your summer event by getting into this situation.
Follow the steps above so that you and your child are prepared in the case something like this happens. If you get separated, make your child as easy to find as possible.
You don’t have to sweat taking the kids out in public, especially if you’re prepared.