Although most people find it humorous when they see a small child walking with a leash or a baby harness on at an amusement park, they likely don’t understand the peace of mind that it offers the parents. Parents rank losing a child as five times more concerning than terrorism and three times more worrisome than abduction. When children have just learned to walk or are into exploring their surroundings, it can be easy to lose them in seconds. 45 percent of children get lost in malls and stores, while 27 percent of families – one in three – lose a child at an amusement park.
There are a few ways to keep a close eye on your little ones while spending time at the park or when visiting the mall without losing them. 76 percent of families want to learn how to avoid losing their children. It’s important to know a few effective ways to keep them safe and in your sight.
Use a Baby Harness
Over 2,000 children in the U.S. are lost every day in public places, making it crucial for parents to take necessary precautions to protect their child before leaving home. A baby harness allows the parent to limit the child’s mobility by keeping them strapped onto their chest while running errands. It makes for a hands-free way of keeping the child close while also allowing them to feel comfortable and even nap while in public.
Use a travel harness that offers plenty of support for both you and your child, making it easy to carry the infant for several hours.
Dress Your Child in Bright Clothing
Over 90 percent of families admit to losing a child in public, making it one of the top fears for parents. 20 percent have also lost a child more than once. One of the most effective ways to spot your child in a crowd is by dressing them in bright clothing before leaving the house. You can dress them in one color from head to toe, such as bright yellow, hot pink, or neon green. You can also have them wear a matching bracelet with their name and phone number to help other people contact you if the child wanders away, which only 9 percent of families do.
For infants or small children who are likely to run away at a moment’s notice, consider tying a balloon on a long string to the child’s wrist. This will make it easy to spot the child in a crowd and see where they’re headed within seconds.
Teach the Child to Ask for Help
Being lost can be just as terrifying for the child as it is for the parents. 95 percent of people will remember the incident for the rest of their lives, making for a traumatizing experience that can scar each family member after the child is found. To stay together in public, you can teach your child to ask for help if they’re old enough to communicate. Practice telling them what to say ahead of time so they feel self-assured when approaching an adult.
You can also agree on a meeting spot when in a retail store or when shopping for groceries. This will allow the child to remain confident and independent if they become lost instead of having a meltdown.
Assign Each Parent to a Kid
Instead of feeling overwhelmed by trying to keep track of children who are running around, parents can choose to assign a certain number of kids to each adult. For larger families, this will make it easier to keep a close eye on multiple children at one time instead of losing track of one or two kids.
Take Photos of the Child
Although it may be one more thing to do when trying to get out of the house each day, it’s important to take photos of each child to ensure that you have an updated picture on hand of their outfit and what they look like. This can help authorities or security guards easily identify the child if they become lost in a busy store or an amusement park. Only 10 percent of missing children are reported to an authority each day, making this a crucial step if they are missing.