I wrote an article awhile back about tips to help lost kids separated from their parents while traveling. I was inspired to write it because of an article I read about safety on another blog and my own concern about Makai getting lost in strange city not yet able to speak the language.
I dread that feeling of panic that washes over me when I’m at a busy park or shopping center and I suddenly realize my son is missing! I imagine my own frustration trying to convey my son is lost, describing him in as much detail as possible in a language I don’t speak well and my plea for help being met with blank stares due to lack of understanding.
Since I wrote the first article, I have learned more tips to help lost kids and panicked parents.
1.Contact information on Your Kid.
Makai doesn’t speak or read any language other than English. He’s five, he’s easily distracted and likes to run and even sometimes hide on us. I tried to think of things he could carry on him that a. he wouldn’t loose b. he would forget he had it with him.
We bought a child lanyard with a plastic business card size pouch attached. I write details about Mak (My Name is …. and I am lost), details about us (my mom is Tracey and my dad is Rob) all in the language spoken where we are visiting. All of that and cell phone numbers for us and where we are staying on the back of one of our business cards and slide it in the pouch. He wears the lanyard around his neck under his shirt.
Another great way to arm your kid with important details is temporary write on safety tattoos. These are awesome, they are peel and stick no water needed and they are water and sweat proof as well.
2. Give Kids a whistle.
Haven’t done this yet but we are planning to visit busy cities again soon and I see how carrying a whistle could be a good thing in crowded places. Whistles are great for finding a lost child camping or visiting a theme park. Giving Mak a whistle to blow if we get separated in a crowd is a great way to narrow down his location it also serves as a way to summon help or needed attention in other situations.
3. A picture is worth a Thousand Panicked Words
I go from annoyed to frantic at warp speed when my calls for Makai go unanswered in a busy place. This can make my recall of what he’s wearing fuzzy. Before we head out I take a few pictures of Mak on my phone or camera, whatever I will be carrying with me that outing. That way I have a perfectly accurate description to offer help. I make sure the photos show clear details in facial expression and clothing he’s wearing. No silly faces or poses just clear strait on and profile shots.
4. Establish a plan for a meeting place.
When visiting any tourist site or theme park there is always a something that stands out. Use an easily identifiable landmark as a meeting spot and be very specific right to the exact spot they should go.
Some monuments are huge. Discuss a specific place around the monument to meet at so you don’t need to search a large area. Make sure you tell your kids they must wait at the meeting place for you to arrive; be clear it may take a while.
Our upcoming travel plans will involve subways and trains. Getting on and off can get hectic. We have a stay put policy for Mak with subway mishaps. If Mak gets off and we don’t he will wait at that stop and we will get of at the next stop and double back to retrieve him.
If we get off and he doesn’t he will get off at the next stop and wait. We will get on the next train and reunite at his stop. It’s a basic plan and we realize different situations can happen but good communication and heightened awareness will help prevent getting separated to.
5. Frequent Communication and follow up.
We talk about the plan before leaving to clearly establish rules and proper behavior so Makai will remember the tools he’s carrying to stay safe. We communicate about staying close and when it’s safe to run ahead while we are out and about. Reminders about things that should go without saying is never a bad thing.
Most theme parks have strategies to help reunite parents with lost kids. Learn what the strategies are before you start to explore the park.
Do you have any other tips to help lost kids? Please share them in the comments.
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