Losing a child is one of the most stressful and dreadful situations a parent can come up against, especially if it happens in a large crowd. As the 4th of July is tomorrow we would like to help you avoid such a terrifying experience as much as possible.
Many parents while reading this will think: “No, that’s not for me. I’ll never lose my child. Ever!” The reality, unfortunately, proves that kids are very sneaky. One moment they can stay beside you and the next one they’ll be gone in the unknown direction because they saw a funny hat or wanted to pet a dog.
Remember that if you lose a child in a crowd, there is no one to blame! Don’t yell at your spouse or relative, act fast instead to get your kid back! Another important point, NEVER scream at your kid once you find him or her! This will only stress them out more causing even more harm than doing any good. So let’s proceed to the tips from professional babysitters on how not to lose a child in a crowd.
Before you go
Before you head up to the celebration of the Independence Day to a large crowd, ensure that you set the strict rules to avoid the situation when you lose a child in a crowd. It’s always easier to prevent something from happening than dealing with the consequences.
So, how should you establish the rules and what these rules are?
It’s no use calling up for a kid and just throwing a lecture on how to act in a big crowd. Most frequently such meetings only bore kids and make them want to break the set rules. To give the idea that everything you say is essential, call up for a family meeting and make all adults participate. This gives the same rights to the kid and the same feeling of importance, so following the rule for him or her will be the case of honor and not dull obedience.
The second rule of a pre-meeting is to set the clear rules (such as “Don’t go further than dog’s leash.”) instead of the vague and general ones (like “Don’t wander around.”) More down-to-earth rules are easier to remember and follow.
The crowd tends to disperse parents’ attention so having a backup adult on your team is always an asset! An adult provides you with an additional pair of eyes and hands to help you follow your child. If you’re allowing your child to spend the day with a friend, always ensure there will be enough adults to follow each kid’s movement.
Such crowds as the one on the 4th of July are always bright and motley. Yet, in the evening colors get subdued and it gets easier to lose a kid there. Your goal is to dress your child in a completely different way from the rest of the people. For instance, you can go for a neon top or a jacket for the evening with the light reflecting material. Whatever makes your child different will work!
Beware! Never dress your kid in clothes with his or her name on it! It only gives a stranger a clue and a way to kidnap your child without any troubles!
Use modern technology
Whatever it is your kid has (phone, tablet, kindle), use it. You need to take a picture of yourself and download it to the kid’s device and do vice versa with the child’s picture. In this way, it will be easier to look for each other should you both get lost in the crowd.
Besides that, ensure that your child has a phone with your number on it. And don’t forget to write your number down on a paper or on the child’s arm in case the phone gets lost or stolen.
Set the meeting point
Once you get to the location, look around and find large and easy-to-find places where you can set up a meeting point. Then explain that if you lose a child in a crowd, then he or she needs to wait for 5 minutes right at the place where he or she found out that you’re missing. Then if no one comes, tell the child needs to head to the meeting point and not move from there until you get him or her. In this way, you will always know where to meet instead of running around the celebration in the chaotic search.
Explain how the help looks like
You need to carefully differentiate people around to your kid and explain who is trustworthy. Explain that help can be sought only from a policeman, a security guard, or a park employee. On entering the park, show all these people to your child and carefully explain how they look. Explain that he or she should look for people with walkie-talkies and name tags, those wearing a uniform or driving golf carts. One more type of people a child can trust is a woman with another child.
What to do if you lose a child in a crowd
Once you spot that your child is missing, look for the kid yourself for a couple of minutes. Then go to your meeting point and on the way there notify a policeman or a security worker about the situation. Ensure that you show your kid’s photo in the clothes that your child is wearing right that moment. The chances are that you will find the kid at the meeting point in no time.
You know that it’s quite simple to lose a child in a crowd, however, with the right preparation for the event and all precautions taken, your whole family can celebrate the Independence Day in peace and all together!
Keep in mind that if you are not sure that you’ll be able to handle the kid in a large crowd or you simply want to take a break from parenting for one night, then it’s much safer to just call in for a babysitter to take care of your child. Check our list of babysitters near you for a perfect match.