Most people have a memory of getting lost when they were young, and they are usually accompanied by laughs now that we’re older. But we remember them because they were scary.
I still remember grabbing a stranger’s pant leg on accident at the airport and stepping back so quick I almost tripped, looking around for my dad. When you’re only pushing 3 feet high and still have to look at your hands to figure out right and left, it can be a scary thing. And when you’re a parent looking for said 3-foot child in a crowd, a few short minutes can seem like an eternity.
But if kids have the right instruction beforehand, these stories turn out just fine. Because the truth is most people want to help that kid in the crowd find their mom.
I found my dad in the airport, and he decided to wear a bright tie-die shirt every time we travelled since, much to my teenage chagrin as the years progressed. But it must have worked, because I don’t remember ever being lost again.
So if you’re prepping your children, here are some tips from parents like you that will help keep them safe and unafraid.
- Tell your child to stay where they are if they ever get separated from you.
- If your child is older, have a designated meeting place if you get separated – make sure to avoid the entrance of the park or building, and avoid the parking lot. These areas make quick getaways easier for predators.
- Play a game! On your way to a crowded place, have your child memorize what you are wearing, close their eyes, and describe you. They’ll know how to tell someone who they are looking for.
- Wear bright colors like my dad! Not saying you have to break any fashion rules, but wear something that sets you apart. Not the Ohio State t-shirt everyone will be wearing.
- Take pictures of each of your kids before you leave for your event. That way if you are looking for them later, you can show a current picture of exactly what they look like and what they are wearing.
- Some parents write their phone number in sharpie on their child’s hand or arm. Others use ID bracelets or put a card with their name and number on it in their child’s pocket. If your kids are too young to memorize your number, having a way for people to call you if they find your child is helpful.
104.9 the River and the Ohio State Highway patrol are sponsoring a Lost Kid’s Booth at the Ohio State Fair this year. Those handy ID bracelets in the last tip? A friendly trooper will have one ready for your child at both of the main entrance gates (Cardinal and OHIO Gates). We would love to have you stop by as you arrive, so you can enjoy The Fair with your family – prepared and safe!