1. Teach children to come (gather) and to stop (freeze) immediately.
2. Teach children to stay together.
Teach your children from an early age to keep up with Mom as your family moves through crowded locations. Tell your children that it is their responsibility to keep up with mom, not mom’s responsibility to keep up with the kids. Remind children that they must always be where they can see mom while in crowded places. They should never move where they can’t see mom or go from one location/room to another without mom.
While, of course, mom is really always keeping up with the kids, this simple tactic teaches children to be aware of their own location in respect to mom. It keeps mom from chasing after children as they turn corners. No more constantly calling out, “You are getting too far away!” or “Don’t leave this room without me.”
Before we exit the car at events and museums I remind my kids of this rule, “Remember, you are in charge of keeping up with Mom,” and I often point out what color shirt I’m wearing.
3. Teach children important identifying information.
4. Point out safe people and in charge adults.
5. Have a plan for what to do if the family gets separated.
Even the most careful families can sometimes get separated in crowded locations. Be sure your child knows what to do if he gets separated from the family.
My family experienced a scary lost child situation when my second daughter was 5 years old. She suddenly thought she was lost in a museum, though I was actually only a few feet away. When she didn’t see me, she immediately panicked, and went running through the museum to find me- actually getting herself lost! Thankfully as she neared the front of the museum, an employee caught her, and we were quickly reuinited.
6. Get familiar with your travel destination.
More easy safety tips:
- Dress your children, and yourself, in bright colors when visiting crowded places.
- Avoid visiting locations during their busiest times.
- Take extra help, such as grandma or a responsible teenager, along on vacation when possible.
- Consider a buddy system with an older child and a younger child if your children have wide age ranges.
- Take a photo of your family at the entrance of museums and events. Not only does it serve as a great memory, you’ll also have a photo of what each person in your family is wearing in case you need to report one lost.