The lost child: every parent’s worst nightmare. Has it happened to you? Have you ever lost sight of your child in a crowd? Even for a second?
I lost my 4-year-old daughter at an amusement park. For the longest eight minutes of my life, she was unaccounted for. I was distracted by something and when I looked down to make sure she was still with me, she wasn’t.
If you’ve ever lost your child in a crowd, you know exactly what that panic feels like: your heart sinks into your gut. Your mouth is dry, your heart races. Every awful scenario flashes through your mind.
Fortunately, my daughter hadn’t wandered far and one of the kind people in this world came to her aid and helped her find me.
We were lucky.
Things could have ended differently. That day was long ago but I’ve never forgotten because losing a child in a crowd is the worst, most helpless feeling ever.
With summer upon us, families will head for the beach, the water park, theme parks, and summer festivals. All the fun stuff.
Thankfully the Clovis Police Department in California created a child safety preventive measure that is sheer genius:
Write your name and phone number on the child’s inner wrist and then cover it with liquid Band-Aid; your info won’t wash off if you become separated. So if a child is too young or too panicked to be able to give out your contact info, it’s right there.
The Clovis PD also recommends snapping a picture of your child with your phone that day so you’ll know exactly what they’re wearing should you have to give someone a description. Nobody likes to imagine this scenario, but think about it: in a moment of panic when your mind isn’t working properly, do you really want to struggle to remember what color shirt your kid was wearing?
And here are a few more child safety tips for public venues …
Talk it out
Talk to your kids about what to do if they get separated from you. Do you want them to go to a park employee? Security personnel? I always tell my kids that if they are lost to find a mother with children. Younger children may not be able to discern between a security guard and a “regular person” but most kids will understand “find a mom and ask her for help.”
Scope it out
Grab a map and locate the information or security centers in advance. If you’re at a beach or public park, look for some type of aid or ranger station. You can often find this info online. Point out the location of security centers to older children.
If you dress your kids in traffic cone orange t-shirts, guess what? They’ll be easier to spot. Take it one step further and have the adults in your group wear bright colors, too. My husband has a shocking pink golf shirt he wears to theme parks or festivals and it’s impossible to lose him in a crowd. Consider some kind of “family uniform” for crowded venues. Yes, matching outfits might seem hokey, but something simple like this gives helping personnel a visual clue and makes it easier for your lost, stressed out child to describe you.
Losing a child in a crowd is every parent’s worst nightmare. No hack or preventive measure will guarantee it won’t happen to you. Having a plan and taking a few minutes to “what if” may help keep you calm and focused in an emergency.
And that hack from the Clovis Police Department? Brilliant. Who’s stocking up on liquid Band-Aid?
Let’s hope we never really need it.
h/t: PopSugar Moms