Visiting the zoo a couple of days ago, there were more people than the zoo should have been able to hold. With so many people in one place, you would think parents would be extra cautious with their children and hold them close. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
There were four incidents of children, ages three and younger, that came by me crying. Where were their parents? The parents were probably running through the zoo, frantically searching for their children. Not once did I hear an adult calling a child’s name. So it is hard to say where the parents were. Here are a few suggestions so maybe this unfortunate tragedy will not happen to you.
Strollers – Strollers are great to use, especially if your child likes you to carry him or her and sometimes you just cannot. If a place is packed, you will not have to worry about your child being accidentally ran into or worse, stepped on if he or she is in a stroller. Always check the stroller before you start moving. Your little one could have gotten out at the stop.
Leashes – Leashes are a great idea. There is not much chance your child will be able to get away from you unless he or she knows how to take it off. The leash does not hurt them and it provides a small backpack for you to carry things in. If you use the leash you may want to make sure you keep your child close so you do not trip anyone with the leash. Your child will feel he or she has freedom from you because you are not holding their hand or carrying them.
Hand Holding – Hand holding is great because you don’t have to “watch” your child. You will know that your child is beside of you by the touch of his or her hand. The downside of hand holding is if you have a child that likes to run or pull away from you. You may have to chase your child if he or she gets away from you.
Visual Contact – It’s good to keep visual contact with your children, especially if you are letting them “run around”. Do not have much faith in visual contact if there are a lot of people in the same area you are. It is too easy for a child to get lost in a crowd. This is better to use for older children.
Carrying – If you are physically able to carry your child all the time, this is the best way to know where your child is. If your child is in your arms you know he or she will not accidentally be stepped on. If your child is too heavy to carry you may want to think of an alternative plan.
Walkie talkie – Children’s walkie talkies can be purchased for $5 and up. Make sure the walkie talkie works before going on your outing. Make sure your child knows how to use the walkie talkie. If you and your child are separated you may be able to find your child quicker with a walkie talkie.
If your child does not remember his or her address and your name or phone numbers, sew the information to your child’s clothing. If your child cannot talk make sure he or she has some type of identification with him or her.
If you and your child ever do get separated, immediately start calling his or her name. If you have a lost child you want everyone to be aware of this fact immediately. Make sure you contact someone that works for the attraction as soon as possible. You may want to post yourself by an exit, as well as have the workers notified not to let any children leave.
These are common sense suggestions that are a good reminder for parents that may have other things on their minds besides safety. You may automatically do these things without thinking and that makes you a cautious parent and your child safe from being “lost”. The fewer lost children there are the better.