It is very difficult not to succumb to a panic attack when you suddenly realize that you cannot see your child nowhere near you. Then again, blind panic is your worst enemy just now: act according to plan.
An ounce of prevention
Before setting out to a mall, beach, amusement park, airport or other vast crowded places, always find a minute to do these important things:
- Attach a tag with your cell-phone number to the kid’s clothes; you can also use a special bracelets or a lanyard. Do not rely on your kid’s ability to recite your number: she can be so frightened because of getting lost that she won’t be able to remember a thing. It might also be reasonable to write your spouse’s cell-phone number (in case you phone doesn’t work for some reason) and your home address.
- Dress your kid in brightly-colored clothes that are easy to spot from the distance. Large bows and hats are ideal for making your daughter conspicuous: you will be able to find her even in a large crowd.
- Take a photo of your child with your cell phone. First, the photo can be easily shared with the mall’s security officers. Second, you won’t have to rely on your memory when describing your child’s appearance.
Where is my baby?
So, you took your eyes away from those blouses and realized that you can’t see your kid.
- First of all, make sure that your child is really lost. It is very likely that she is not very far from you. Take a look around: sometimes children get stuck in toy shops or videogame arcades. Don’t be embarrassed to call out to your kid as loudly as you can.
- If you cannot find your son or daughter in a few minutes’ time, immediately ask the nearest employee or security guard for help. Normally, they will initiate a special missing-child action plan: all exit doors will be guarded and bathrooms and fitting rooms combed. Images from surveillance cameras all around the place will be scrutinized: there is a strong possibility that in a while you will be reunited with your kid.
- If the child cannot be spotted within five to ten minutes, the police need to be involved. Do not waste time trying to assure yourself that the kid is not abducted: if you suspect the worst, act immediately.
What should my child do if she got lost?
Discuss these simple rules with your kid and make sure she will go by them:
- Never leave the place where you are: the child must stay put until you find her.
- Just sit on the floor and start to call out to mom or dad: this guarantees that the kid will draw everybody’s attention to herself and therefore be protected from predators.
- Find an adult who will help you. As small children might have problems recognizing uniforms, teach them to seek help from young mothers with children: chances are that these women will stay with your child for as long as it may be necessary.