Whether in the park, at the store or on vacation, a child can disappear in minutes. Here are some helpful tips provided by the Missing Children’s Network to prevent disappearances:
- Never leave your child under the age of 7 unattended in a public place, in a public restroom or in the car, not even for a moment.
- Make them learn their name, age and phone number as soon as possible. As soon as he is old enough, also teach him his address, his date of birth, your full name and the number where he can be reached. You can invent a nursery rhyme that includes all this information to help your toddler remember it.
- Explain that you need to know where he is and what he is doing at all times, and that it will help you if something happens.
- Show your child safe places in your neighborhood where he can get help or take refuge if necessary: shops, public services, house of people you trust, etc. Teach him to use the 911 service in an emergency.
- Explain to your child that he must always ask for permission before going somewhere, following someone, getting into a car or accepting a gift.
- Choose a quality daycare that provides a pleasant environment and employs qualified educators. Make sure the daycare notes attendance and that any absence will be reported to you without delay. When you leave your toddler in the morning, always tell him who will pick him up at the end of the day.
- At home, always check the references of those to whom you are entrusting your child.
- If you have to go out to shop, see if you can not leave your child at home with someone you trust. If you take him to the store with you, tell him that he must always stay in your field of vision.
- Explain to your child what to do if he gets lost while shopping with him:
- stay near the place where he has lost you so that you can find him;
- never leave to search for you, return to the car, or leave the mall without you;
- ask for help from the store clerk where he is or from the nearest store (this person stands behind the counter and wears a uniform).
The best way to avoid unwanted situations is to prevent. Prevention is first and foremost about the education you give to your child, offering them as much advice and information as possible when you go out!
On this, enjoy your family outing!