How not to lose a child in a public place: tips for parents
There is nothing worse than losing a child in a public place, for example, in a shopping center or on the street during mass festivities. You look around, panic and a feeling of helplessness envelop you. You cannot understand where the child could go and where to start the search. Mentally, you draw yourself the worst that could happen to him, and these pictures are so terrible that you do not want to think about it. Your heart, it seems, is ready to jump out of your chest, and you feel a great need to at least do something.
According to statistics, in 90% of families there are situations when parents lose their child in public places, and in 20% of families – repeatedly. However, in most cases, children are very fast and such cases do not do any harm to the child.
Let’s consider a few recommendations that will help to avoid such situations. Follow them – and the likelihood that your child will be lost in a crowded place will be significantly reduced.
How to avoid cases when a child may get lost in a public place
If your child is still small, it will be very difficult for him to find you on his own when he is lost. Therefore, you should take precautions to prevent this from happening:
put your child in brightly colored clothes if you plan to take him with you to a crowded place. So it will be easier for you to see him in the crowd. Do not forget what the child is wearing if you let him go;
make a plan with your child. If you are going to a shopping center, a market or a concert with your child, discuss with him what he should do if he gets lost. Arrange a place where you will meet in such a case (for example, near the entrance to a shopping center or market);
teach your child how to behave in such situations. In addition, in order to discuss the action plan in each specific situation, the child must know the basic rules. Tell him that if he is lost in a crowded place, he can turn to adults for help (for example, a policeman, a security guard in a shopping center or just a mother with children). Also teach your child not to hide from you during your walk in crowded places, not to go far from you, and also not to get into a car with strangers;
make sure that the child knows by heart the necessary personal information (his full name, age, home address, the names of his parents and their mobile phone numbers). If he gets lost, he will be able to tell the policeman information about himself and the problem will be solved. If your child is shy, you may need time to teach him to turn to adults in difficult situations (for example, teach him simple phrases: “I can’t find my mother, help me, please”);
if you are not sure that the child is able to remember the necessary information in a stressful situation, write on his wrist your name and phone number when you go to a crowded place;
always carry your child’s photo taken recently (for example, you can carry it in your wallet). If the child gets lost in a public place, you can show the photo to other people and ask if they saw the child;
use tracking devices. Today, parents have at their disposal many devices that allow you to track the location of the child (smart watches, bracelets with GPS trackers, etc.). Using a smartphone or tablet, you can easily track where your child is. Having decided to use such devices, first of all, talk with your child and explain to him that it is important to wear the device constantly and never to remove it;
if you have two children and you go to a public place with your spouse, arrange for each of you to look after one child;
teach your child not to let go of your hand in a crowded place, and if he lets go, to stay in place. So you can quickly find him if you lose.
What to do to parents if the child is lost
Despite all the precautions, it is still possible that the child may get lost. This is terrible, but, following certain recommendations, it is possible to quickly solve this problem:
do not panic. Panic does not allow you to think soberly, and you may miss some obvious way to solve the problem;
First of all, stop for a few seconds and carefully look around. The child may be in your field of vision;
Feel free to call the baby out loud. Hearing you, he will calm down from the very understanding that you are nearby;
If you are in a public place (for example, in an amusement park, shopping center or train station), immediately contact the administration so that the staff will help you find the child. When you quickly find him, he will not have time to get scared or upset;
if you have a bad feeling or you think that the help of the staff in this case will not be enough, do not hesitate to contact the police;
try not to go far from the place where you lost your child. The smaller the child, the less likely it is that he has moved far.