What to do if your child gets lost..
No parent imagines losing their child until it happens. Prepare yourself and your children on how to keep safe if they were to ever become separated from you.
Anyone who has been a parent for any length of time has experienced it, that cold dreadful feeling that washes through you when you realise your child is out of your sight. At the back of your mind you know that your eyes will land on them at any moment and everything will be fine but those few seconds or minutes can be excruciating. It is estimated that 1000 children get separated from their parents for more than an hour each day.
The good news is most children are found quickly. Of course every parent’s worst fear when confronted with a lost-child scenario is the thought of their child being abducted. Fortunately this is very rare. In the UK police figures show that there are 200 attempted stranger-child abductions with only 50 of those actually being successful. With over 11 million children in the UK the chances of your child falling prey to this horrific fate are small.
Losing a child can happen anywhere. Beaches, shopping malls, fun fairs, zoos, farms, playgrounds, theme parks. Even a simple trip to the supermarket can turn into a frantic search and rescue operation. All it takes is for you to bump into an old friend, stop for a quick chat off your little one disappears into the supermarket abyss.
So how can we prepare ourselves and our children for this situation? Talk to your children from as young as 2 about the possibility of becoming lost and always have a plan of action when you go out. Emphasize to your child the importance of following the plan if they are to become separated from you. If you are at the beach tell your child to go to a lifeguard and stay there, not to keep looking for you. Reassure a small child that you would never go anywhere without them that they must stay put and that you will find them. Tell a toddler to sit on the ground and call for you. Some children do wander off and become disorientated, tell them they must go to another mummy. Statistically women with kids are less likely to be predators and more likely to remain with your child until you find them.
If your child is lost:
DON’T PANIC. Do a quick scan of the area, your child probably isn’t far. Stay still for a moment and think about what may have distracted them. Call your child’s name as they are most likely within earshot.
Get help fast. If you don’t find your child after a couple of minutes then get help from other parents or an employee. All large retailers have missing-child action plans and no one will be allowed to leave the building without being questioned.
Call the Police. After 5- 10 minutes call the police. Stay calm and seek help fast. Remember that calling the police does not mean the worst has happened.
What to teach your child:
4 years and under: Their first and last name. Your full name. Don’t go anywhere with or accept anything from strangers
5-7 years: Your mobile phone number. A safe-person list (who they can approach if lost)
8 years & up: An easy to find specific meeting place.
Be prepared, talk to your children and have a plan. It is smarter to be aware of the possibilities rather than think it will never happen to you.
By Angie Filardo
Why not consider a Child ID wristband. They are a simple way to get important details on your child. Should they become lost they can become reunited with you much more easily.
At Kiddsafe we want to help you keep your children safe.