Summer vacation is a great time to hang out with your kids. While places
like baseball games, amusement parks, and county fairs are fun places
to bring children, they are also often packed full of people and it can
be easy for children and parents to lose each other. Losing a child even
just for a few minutes can be terrifying, so it’s important to do
all you can to make sure that even if you do lose your child you know
how to find each other again.
Teach your child to stay with you. Try giving a young child the option of either being buckled into their
stroller or walking while holding your hand or the side of the stroller.
An older child may be told not to go more than an arm’s length away
from you in large, crowded places. You might also tell them to stay in
the same aisle as you at a store or the same room as you in a museum.
Point out safe adults. Whenever you go somewhere, point out the uniforms of any adults who your
child could ask for help. If your child is too young to be able to recognize
uniforms, the next best thing is to teach them to look for mothers with
children. Mothers are most likely to stay with your child until they find you.
Make it fun. Play a game at home like red light green light, where your child can
walk when you say “green light” and has to stop when you say
“red light.” Then when you’re in public and see that
your child is starting to walk too far away from you, say “red light”
to give yourself time to catch up.
Take a picture. Having a picture of your child from the same day is very useful if you
have to describe them to someone. In the heat of the moment, it can be
easy to forget the color of a child’s shirt or if they got a haircut recently.
Write down your phone number. Make sure your child keeps your phone number on them by putting it in
their pocket or writing it on their clothing. Even if your child knows
your cell phone number, the stress of getting lost could make them forget it.
Set a meeting place. If your child is old enough to find their way around, you can set a meeting
place in case you lose each other. Pick landmarks like a specific rollercoaster
or a numbered exit rather than something like a water fountain so that
you’re sure to go to the same place.
Teaching children about safety can be hard, but talking about safety is
essential in order to have a fun, relaxing summer. Preventing a bad situation
is always easier than fixing one.