We took advantage of a beautiful holiday Friday and packed the kids in the car for a day at the Toronto Zoo. On the way we picked up my sister and her daughter. After a long, cold, snowy winter, we were so happy to spend the day outside in the warming weather. We had just finished lunch, my hubby and I were clearing off the table and putting our garbage in the bin. My sister had her daughter in the stroller and started walking toward the restroom. After the table was cleared my hubby and I went to follow her. We were pretty sure the kids had followed her but when we caught up my oldest asked where her sister was.
We quickly headed back to the table where we had eaten and found a nice lady holding my daughter's hand as she cried. When she saw me she cried "Mommy! I lost myself!" Oh man did that break my heart. Turns out that she had been playing on the stairs next to our table and didn't notice when we all walked away. I felt soooo bad! For days she asked me why I left her. All I can say is, I thought you were with Auntie.
So, the question is...are YOUR kids prepared if this happened to them? My daughter wasn't. Thankfully we were only gone a minute and she was easy to find. But that might not be the case next time. So what do we tell our kids to do if they find themselves lost? I did some research and found a few tips. But I'd love to hear your tips and what you've done to prepare your children.
This is in no way professional advice but I hope it gets you thinking and helps prepare your family in the case it ever happens to you.
First: make sure they know to stay still and wait for me to find them. If they go running off looking for you they will just get themselves more lost and make it much harder to be found. Also if an adult wants to take them away they should say that their parents have told them never to go anywhere with someone without their parents permission.
Second: have them call for us. I read that it's best to have them call out our REAL names, NOT mommy and daddy. There were tons of kids at the zoo and hearing a child call mommy or daddy won't always get your attention. Best to use your real names.
Third: make sure my kids know my cell phone number. Everyone has a cell these days. My daughter could ask someone to call me. If you're kids are too young to remember or might forget when they are lost and scared you can use safety wristbands with your name and number on it. I've read that it's a good idea to tell your kids to ask another mother for help. They are more likely to be inclined to help a lost child and are a safer choice compared to a man who is alone.
Make sure to regularly remind your children about these safety rules and maybe even do some role playing. Make it fun and memorable. Hopefully you'll be more prepared than we were.
If you have your own tips on how to keep our kids safe and prepared for situations like this I'd really love to hear your comments.