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Child Lost While Shopping Or Any Place: What If It's mine?

Avoid the Panic of a Child Lost

Every parent's nightmare is to be out and about and suddenly discover your child lost. Even though they were just beside you, they are now suddenly not. What should you do?

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I don't care how good your supervision is, sooner or later a child in your care is going to go missing. But panic does not have to be your first response. If you have worked with the child, even for only a few minutes a week you can end up with a working system that can have them back in your care in no time flat.

How do I know this?

Because I'm a parent and I have a system and it works. You can read all about my safety tips for kids.

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But not everybody will want to adopt my plan. So let me direct you to another article about avoiding the child lost scenario. This one is by Kid Power and it is called "What If I Get Lost? – Kidpower Skills to Prepare Children to Get Help".

For the parent that likes detail, this is an ideal article for you. It covers:

  • Making a Safety Plan
  • What to Do If You Get Lost
  • The Backup Plan
  • Practising How to Get Help if You Get Lost
Image of a single child's shoe on it's side: Child Lost
Lost Child

I really encourage you to make some sort of "What to do when you find your child lost" plan. In our busy lives, it could be seen as just another thing that you have to do. But if you include it in your lifestyle and only talk about it as you are preparing to go out, all you need do is re-enforce the plan as you are walking about. It is not really that time consuming and it could save your child's life one day. Isn't that worth a little time?

Having said that let me plead with you that you read up on plans like the ones above when making your plan. I have worked with children all my working life and then some and many of the plans I hear that parents have are just ... Well, shall we be kind and say that they are less than adequate. For example, this is a very common one:

"I tell [child's name] that if they can't find me they should look for a policeman and they will come and find me"

Often with such a plan the carer has not even prepared the child by getting them to memorize a phone number or address, let alone considering the risks of a lost child wandering all over the place in the search for a policeman (and sometimes these plans are very specific that it be a man), that may not even be on that beat, let alone on foot.

What about this plan:

"I tell [child's name] that if they can't find me they should look for the help desk and they will come and find me"

How do you know if they're even is a help desk and if there is, what floor is it on? If your child is on the 5th floor and the help desk is on the first: how will they find that?

Consider also that such plans require you to have come up with a specific plan for every situation and no child can cope with so much information. Beside such plans are rarely organized in advanced, they are usually talked about whilst you are walking about. There is a very good chance that your child is not going to take that in whilst there is a heap of other distractions.

The above are real plans that I have heard from real parents. I have not made them up. If you have something similar you need to rethink your plan and come up with something better. The best way of doing that is to read the articles links above. I'm sure you will be able to use that information to come up with a really good plan so that there will be no child lost in your care.

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