As parents, we know that one of the scariest things in the world is to lose your preschool age kids in a public place. Places like the mall, the beach, or amusement park can be so crowded and there are so many crazy people in the world. You can never be too careful when you are out with your children. There are several things you can do to help prevent getting lost and plans you can implement in case this does happen.
1. What to wear – Dress your preschool age child in something you can remember and something you can spot. I like to dress my kids all in the same color when we go out to a crowded event. I do this for a few reasons. It makes it easy to find them, because I know what they are wearing and it makes it easier for me to remember, because it is only one color. It is much easier to explain to the park attendant that you are looking for your daughter in the red shirt, then to say you are looking for your daughter in the pink and brown plaid shirt with the green stripe. You could also put them in a crazy hat. This is fun for the child, and gives you something different to look for in a sea of kids that all look the same from the back!
2. Teach safety – When you enter the event point out to your preschool age kids the police officers or life guard or other person of safety. Teach your children not to be scared of these people. They are here to keep them safe and protected. If they are big enough, make a meeting place in case they get lost. Show them a place, maybe near the entrance, or near the info desk or security office, where they can come in the event they get separated from you.
3. Stroller – The stroller can be your friend for many years. My 4 year old preschool age child still rides in ours. In a crowded place, it can be a life saver. Keep your stroller around as long as you can. If your child is strapped in, you know where he is, where he is going and that no one else can grab him.
4. Pack your essentials – Keep your diaper bag (purse,or back pack) organized and ready. If you are spending too much time digging for a snack, your preschool age child could be across the way in a blink of an eye. You need to be able to reach in a grab what you need so you can have your eye on your kids at all times. Remember, they can walk away from you quickly, but someone could grab them up from right in front of you, even quicker!
5. Harness – Some parents use a harness to keep their preschool age kids close. They make some that look like a leash that you hold on to and the child can still run around safely. There are others that are shaped like a backpack where there is a monkey or other animal and the parent holds on to the “tail” of the animal.
6. ID bracelets – It would be great if you could teach your child your cell phone number, but in the event your child is too small for this, they make ID bracelets that you can print this important information on. You can order bracelets, shoe tags, or even temporary tattoos that have all your important info printed on them.
Losing your preschool age child at a crowded event will be traumatizing for all involved. Just remember to educate yourself and your children on how to stay safe and still have fun!