The holiday shopping season is quickly approaching, not to mention the shopping frenzy of Black Friday. But before you head out to the mall, it’s important to stay safe. The holiday season also marks an increase in theft. I caught up with the co-founder of Simple Self Defense for Women, Tracy Vega, and she shares with us these 16 tips to keep you and your family safe this holiday shopping season.
Scroll through to check out her tips. And if you have any tips of your own, please leave a comment, and don’t forget to share with any moms and women out there.
Tip #1 Park Close to the Entrance 1 of 16
Always park as close to the entrance as possible. Many malls also offer valet parking for a small fee, which would be ideal, especially if you're going to be getting back to your car with a lot of shopping bags.
Photo: positionmktg via Flickr
Tip #2 Park Under a Light 2 of 16
Park under a light. With the time change now, it gets darker much faster than you realize. Also, park with the rear first, instead of head first. It will be easier to spot your car, since the majority of people park head first.
Photo: allistair via Flickr
Tip #3 Carry Pepper Spray 3 of 16
Carry pepper spray with you. It's legal in all 50 states.
Photo: via here
Tip #4 Carry Your Purse on Your Person 4 of 16
Carry your purse on your person, place it deep in the cart, or fasten with the child safety strap.
Tip #5 Don’t Leave Your Child Unattended 5 of 16
Don't leave your children unattended in the cart while you shop.
Photo: robertverzo via Flickr
Tip #6 Don’t Allow Kids to Roam Around the Store 6 of 16
Don't allow your kids to go to the "toy aisle" or any other department alone.
Photo: clostark via Flickr
Tip #7 Stay Where you Are 7 of 16
Teach your children that if you get separated, they should stay where they are — you will find them. If your children are older, you can also have a safe zone where you would meet up with them in case they were to get lost.
Note: There is also an app called Family GPS Tracker that lets you track your children using your smartphone in real time. You can also set "Safe and Unsafe" zones, and you'll get an automatic alert if your child leaves a designated safe zone like the mall.
Tip #8 Don’t Leave your Purse in the Cart 8 of 16
Don't leave your purse out in the cart while you fasten your kids in the car.
Photos: christopherbrown via Flickr
Tip #9 Don’t Wear Anything with their Name on It 9 of 16
Make sure your kids are not wearing anything with their name on it. It makes it too easy for strangers to start a conversation.
Photo: corsairs via Flickr
Tip #10 Stranger Danger 10 of 16
Don't encourage your children to talk with strangers while waiting in line. Strangers don't need to know your child's name and age.
Photo: rjprescott via Flickr
Tip #11 Take them to the Fitting Room with You 11 of 16
Take kids and your purse into the fitting room with you if you have to use it.
Tip #12 Don’t Let Your Child Go to the Bathroom Alone 12 of 16
Don't allow your children to use a public restroom alone. Go with them, or have them go in pairs and wait out the door.
Photo: junzee via Flickr
Tip #13 Keep your Distance from Strangers in Parking Lot 13 of 16
Keep your distance from strangers in a parking lot who try to approach you with questions. We recommend 7-10 feet.
Photo: davidhillowitz via Flickr
Tip #14 Don’t Leave Anything your Car 14 of 16
Keep all items in your car out of sight. Put them in the trunk or under a cover in your car.
Tip #15 Don’t Fight Back if Someone Tries to Steal Your Purse 15 of 16
If someone attempts to snatch your purse, DO NOT FIGHT BACK! Let your purse go — it's not worth your life.
Photo: mkn via Flickr
Tip #16 Check the Back Seat of Your Car 16 of 16
Always check the back seat of your car before getting in, in case someone is hiding. Also, lock your doors as soon as you're inside.
Photo: daviddeherte via Flickr
Read more of Carmen’s writing on her fashion blog, Viva Fashion.