Public Place Safety
Ever been in a mall or at the park, happily strolling along with your kiddo, when suddenly you look up and she’s nowhere to be found? It’s happened to the best of us. Despite how common it is, this occurrence is an extremely dangerous one if you’re not prepared. Your child can get lost in an instant; and if you don’t have a plan in place, it could be the last time you see him. It’s a terrible thing to contemplate, but how much more terrible would it be if it actually happened to you? Here are a few public place safety tips to ensure this tragedy doesn’t happen to your family:
Teach Your Child About Safety
The very best type of prevention is education. Before entering a large public venue or event, talk to your child about the importance of sticking close by your side. Don’t use words that will frighten her unnecessarily, but do be clear about the dangers that could result from your child straying. In addition, make sure that your child has a plan just in case she does get lost. You could point out a central location for her to go to or introduce her to a security guard, so that she’ll know who to go to in case she finds herself in potential danger.
Distinguish Your Kid from the Rest
If your child does become lost, you’re going to want to be able to identify him quickly. Dress him in bright colors, tie a balloon to his wrist, or otherwise distinguish him from the rest of the kids, so you know exactly what to look for. If your child is too young to memorize his address and telephone number, you can attach this information to his shirt with a safety pin; or better yet, consider a temporary tattoo from SafetyTat. That way, if you do get separated from your child and a Good Samaritan finds him, he/she will know exactly how to get him back to you.
Discuss Stranger Danger
Unfortunately, not everyone is a Good Samaritan. Although we don’t want to teach children to mistrust all adults, we do need to inform them of the risks of talking to people they don’t know. Tell them to ignore adults who ask them for help, follow them, or initiate conversations for no apparent reason. The National Crime Prevention Council also recommends talking to your child about the varying appearances of strangers. It’s important that they know than not all bad guys are ugly, like they are portrayed in the movies. This may be a difficult concept for your child to understand, depending on her age, so be prepared to role-model different scenarios if necessary.
Children slip away so easily. If there’s a parent who has never lost their child, even for a second, then they just haven’t experienced the horror yet. This scenario doesn’t have to end in disaster, however. With a little planning, you can make sure that your child finds his way back to you quickly and safely.