Losing a child in a crowded place is every parent’s nightmare. It only takes a second, before they can quickly leave your sight. Here’s what you need to know to keep your child safe when you’re visiting a theme park, museum, or other crowded venue.
Keeping Kids Safe
I have a fear of losing my children because it happened to me once. It still haunts me. My oldest was 4 years old when I decided to take him to a local children’s museum for the day. It started to get really crowded, so I made sure to keep my eyes on him while he played in the science room. He started climbing on a big rubber mountain in the middle of the room. I looked down for a quick second to grab my drink and when I looked back up, I didn’t see him.
I casually got up and walked to the other side of the room thinking he would be there. I searched all of the kids who were running and jumping, but I didn’t see him. My heart sank. I scanned the room again and this is when I started to panic. He wasn’t there.
What felt like an hour was probably only a few minutes, but thankfully I found him two rooms over. When I bent down for my drink, he lost sight of me and went looking for me. We were both very shaken up from this experience and it took awhile to get over it.
Since then, whenever I’m going to be in a crowded place with my boys, I always prepare. As your kids get older, you can create a safety plan for your family depending on your family’s needs and based on the age of your children and maturity level. Make sure to go over the plan with your kids before you leave the house.
10 Ways I Keep My Boys Safe
1. Dress them in bright clothing.
I bought a few very brightly colored shirts for my boys to wear. That way, I can easily spot them just by glancing in crowded areas. I like to make them stand out. The colors that are most visible are bright yellow, lime green, and red.
2. Place a small luggage tag on your child’s shoe.
Include important information and a number to contact. Make sure to secure it tightly so it cannot fall off.
3. Talk to your child about how to identify an employee.
This should be the first thing you do when you enter the facility. Point out an employee so your child can see what the uniforms look like. This is especially important for young children. If you put an identification item on them (tattoo, label, bracelet, etc.), explain to them where the ID is so your child can show it to an employee in an emergency.
4. Assign a child with an adult.
It’s so easy to think the “other person” was watching the child. Assign an adult to a child before you enter a crowded venue. If you need to switch, make sure you communicate with one another. My boys have a tendency to run off in different directions. My husband and I are always making eye contact and giving each other hand motions “I got this one!” It’s important to ensure that the kids are being watched at all times.
5. Take a photo of them each morning.
How many times do we forget what our kids are wearing, especially in a panic? Make sure to snap a photo of your child before you head out. If you need to recall what the child is wearing, you can easily bring it up on your phone or camera.
6. Give your child your cell phone number.
If your child is old enough, make sure he or she knows your cell phone number.
7. Try using a temporary SafetyTat or Mabel’s Labels.
This is such a great idea! Or you can make your own temporary tattoo with, “If I’m lost call….”.
8. Put your information on masking tape or a sticker.
It’s recommended that you print your information in small letters, and put the tape on the outside of the child’s shirt about 5 inches below his or her armpit.
9. Create a meeting spot.
If your child is old enough, discuss a place to meet should you get separated. If the child is too young for that, tell them to stay where they are if they can’t find mommy or daddy and you will find him or her.
10. Rent a stroller.
Depending on where you are and how old your children are, bringing or renting a stroller always helps. Have them sit in the stroller as you navigate through the crowds. It’s easier to keep them in one spot.
You can never be too cautious when it comes to your children. By having a plan, it can make you feel more relaxed, less stressed, and allow you to enjoy your time with your family.