hintsandthings.co.uk »Nursery

Important information on how to reduce the chances of losing your child whilst out and what to do if this does happen.



Don’t lose
your child!

There is no point in letting
unrealistic fears ruin what should be a great opportunity to enjoy quality time with your
children. The following suggestions are offered to alert rather than alarm you.

False sense of security

Often a false sense of
security can descend when
travelling with children; after all you are with them
constantly, feeding, changing, amusing them, carrying them on and off various forms of
transport. With so much contact it may not seem possible that you could lose your child,
but with everything going on it is very easy to let your child out of your sight and
become separated from you.

Prevention

If there are two adults travelling decide before you leave
home who will be in charge of the children and who will be in charge of the travel
arrangements and luggage. That way each adult cannot mistakenly assume that the other one
was keeping an eye on the children.

Toddlers really need to wear a harness and reins.
Young children need to hold your hand rather than
the hand of his older brother or sister. Should you be separated always check the most
life-threatening directions first i.e. swimming pool/water, main road/carpark etc.

You can lessen the risk of your
child being “lost” for long by using K.id Bands whenever you are at the airport,
station, on the beach, at pleasure parks, zoos, museums, throughout your holiday and in
any busy place. Simply complete your contact details, i.e. mobile phone number and attach
the brightly coloured band to your Childs wrist.

Come and tell before you go
rule

Teach your three-four-five
year old that he must never go anywhere with anybody without coming to tell the adult who
is looking after him.

This message is particularly easy for this age group to
understand because it fits in with their stage of development and therefore, makes perfect
sense to them. Small children always want to know where parents are – even if they have
only left the room to go to the toilet – so it seems entirely reasonable to them that you
should feel the same way.

He should know that the “rule” established between you
is absolute; that other family members and close friends all agree that it’s right for
children to “come and tell before you go”, and, therefore anyone who tries to
persuade him not to bother must be distrusted and disregarded.

When a small child gets separated from parents in a busy street,
store or shopping center it is very distressing for adult and child alike. Youngsters will
always get lost – and a lost child is a vulnerable child. Research shows wide variations
in the way parents react when children get lost and in the way shop staff cope with lost
children.

Likewise, advice given to children about what to do if they get
lost varies enormously – often resulting in confusion and unnecessary delay. The Safe
Child Scheme was launched in Shrewsbury in December 1993. Since then, the average time a
lost child has been separated from his or her family whilst out shopping in the town has
been dramatically reduced from 15 minutes to less than 5 minutes. The vast majority of
children who get lost are reunited with their families very quickly and the chances of a
child coming to harm during a separation are extremely remote – let’s keep it that way by
knowing what to do.

At as young an age as possible teach
your child to: –

Recite his name, address and
telephone number

  • Stay close to you and hold your hand or trolley when in busy
    places
  • Understand that store and
    shopping center staff wear uniforms and name badges
  • Identify the Safe Child
    ‘holding hands” picture.


    If you are little and lost…



    These simple instructions can be
    easily followed by children, teach them to your child. The moment they realise they are
    lost, they should…

    STOP – stand still and LOOK around.
    But DO NOT run around.

  • If you see the person you are
    shopping with, go straight back to them and hold their hand

  • If you cannot see the person you are
    with, go straight to a till or a checkout and tell the person working there that you are
    lost.

    If you get lost in a shopping
    center or street, go into the nearest shop and straight to a till or checkout.


    Do not approach anyone else

    If you are a parent or
    guardian…

    If inside a store enquire at the nearest till or checkout
    point

  • If in a shopping center or street, enquire at the tills or
    checkouts of the nearest store.
  • Listen carefully to any public address announcement
  • If in a shopping center, alert the center’s security staff
  • Enquire at the nearest police station by contacting the nearest
    policeman.
  • If he is not found quickly, do
    not waste time; also notify the consular section of your embassy that usually have special
    staff trained to assist travellers in distress and who maintain contact with local police.

    Safer clothing

    It’s always best to make a mental note of what your child is
    wearing and dress him in bright colours so that he stands out from the crowd, brightly
    coloured hats are a good idea too. When buying children’s clothes avoid ones with their
    name on, and when labelling clothes or rucksacks etc always put the Childs name tags on the
    inside so that a stranger can’t pretend to know your child by calling out his name.


    Remember the main objective isn’t to get someplace, it’s to have fun times together.