The holiday season is fast approaching, numerous families are preparing their shopping lists and gift suggestions! It is an exciting time to immerse ourselves in the holiday spirit, but amidst the shopping frenzy and excitement, considering your child’s safety is crucial. 

Before embarking on this adventure, taking the time to discuss safety measures with your child can make all the difference. Shopping centers are full of activities during this time of year, but in the crowds, it is easy to get separated. Preparing your child to follow certain steps if they are separated from you is an essential precaution for a stress-free holiday season. We advise discussing safety with them even before heading to the shopping centers! 

Our Tips When Shopping with Your Child 

Shopping for the holidays with your child can be a fun and educational experience. Here are some tips to make this experience enjoyable, stress-free, and to teach your child safe behaviours in these places: 

  • Take a picture of your child before heading out. In case of an emergency or if they get lost, you will have a complete description of what they are wearing. 
  • Ensure your child knows their personal information (full name, your phone number, and address) in case they get separated. If they do not, give them a card with your contact details to keep safely. 
  • Ask your child to always stay close to you. In case of separation, designate an easy-to-find meeting point. 
  • Teach them how to find trustworthy individuals (security personnel, a salesperson, or staff) and how to find a safe place if they get lost or feel unsafe. 
  • Remind your child to never leave the store or the shopping center without you. 
  • Always accompany your child to public restrooms. 
  • Teach them not to accept gifts or rides from strangers. If someone tries to take your child, they should yell, “You’re not my mom/dad! Help!” and then run towards a trusted adult. 
  • Encourage them to inform you if they see anything unusual or if they feel uncomfortable. 
  • Never leave your child alone in a car, even for a few minutes. 

Approaching the holiday season, respect your child if they show signs of discomfort or fear with Santa Claus. Remember, they are learning to trust their instincts by listening to their internal alarms systems, which could be crucial if they were approached by someone with ill intentions. 

In addition to these rules, it is important to tailor the instructions to your child’s age and reinforce them regularly. Vigilance and open communication are essential to ensuring their safety! 

Do You Think Your Child Can Shop Alone? 

The age at which your child can shop alone depends on several factors, including their maturity, the location of the store, and the specific situation. Here are some things to consider: 

  • Ensure that your child is responsible enough to navigate a store alone, make simple decisions, stay safe, and can follow clear instructions. 
  • Assess the safety of the store and its surroundings. Some places may be more suitable than others for a child alone. Your child should know how and who to ask for help if needed. 
  • If your child has never shopped alone before, it might be helpful to accompany them the first few times to show them the steps to follow, explain safety rules, and evaluate their ability to handle the situation. 

Ultimately, the decision to allow your child to shop alone depends on an assessment of their skills and maturity, as well as your confidence in their ability to do so safely. If you believe your child is mature enough to go to the mall without adult supervision, take the time to discuss and establish clear guidelines that ensure their protection: 

  • Encourage them to always walk in groups. 
  • Ensure your child knows how to contact you or someone trustworthy if needed. 
  • Teach them to handle money discreetly in public and remind them to never give out their personal information. 
  • Set clear rules on what your child can buy, spending limits, return times, and where you will pick them up. 

What to Do If You Encounter a Lost Child? 

A lost child is everyone’s responsibility. If you encounter a lost child, it is crucial to act quickly and appropriately to ensure their safety and reunite them with their parents or guardians. Here are some tips on how to handle this situation: 

  • Keep calm to reassure the child. Children can easily feel panicked when they are lost. 
  • Try to spot adults who are looking for a child. Observe the situation to see if someone is searching for the lost child. 
  • Approach the child gently and amiably. Try not to stress them further. Reassure them and let them know you are going to help them find their parents or guardians. 
  • Stay with the child and seek immediate help. 
  • Do not take the child away from where you found them and never drive the child elsewhere to seek help. 
  • If you cannot locate the parents or guardians, seek out a store employee or security personnel. They are trained to handle such situations. 
  • Stay vigilant and ensure the child is properly reunited with the appropriate person before leaving. 

If you cannot find an adult looking for the child and the situation seems serious, it might be necessary to call local authorities for additional help. Remember, staying calm and acting kindly is essential in these situations. Your primary goal is to help the child reunite safely with their parents or caregivers. 

Our Tips if Your Child is Traveling Alone During the Holiday 

As the holiday season approaches, the travel season often takes on a special significance, especially if your child is travelling alone to visit family or loved ones. Ensuring your child’s safety and well-being during this festive period is of utmost importance. 

With this in mind, preventive measures and appropriate advice can contribute to ensuring a safe and enjoyable journey for your child. Here are some recommendations to consider ensuring their holiday trip is as secure and pleasant as possible. Whether it is boarding a plane to distant destinations, hopping on a train to visit relatives, or taking a bus trip to celebrate with extended family, children travelling alone require a special approach and meticulous preparation. Here are our tips: 

Before the trip: 

  • When making reservations, specify that your child will be travelling alone and inquire about accompanying services. If possible, choose a direct route and avoid selecting the last flight/train/bus of the day. 
  • Ensure that travel details such as schedules, flight/train numbers, and instructions are well understood by your child. 
  • Prepare a packet with essential documents, a copy of the itinerary, emergency contacts, and your child’s identification. 
  • Explain to them how to behave, where and how to seek help if needed. 
  • Pack a bag with personal items, food, toys, or books to keep them entertained during the journey. 
  • Dress the child in recognizable clothing and attach a tag with their contact information. 
  • Remind your child not to reveal personal information to anyone 

During the trip: 

  • Communicate with the transport company staff to ensure they are aware that your child is travelling alone and ready to assist. 
  • Designate a trustworthy adult for the child throughout the journey, ensuring they are always reachable. 
  • Maintain regular contact with your child, if possible, to reassure them and ensure everything is going well. 
  • Encourage your child to express concerns, answer their questions, and reassure them that their feelings are normal. 

Upon arrival: 

  • Coordinate with a trustworthy person to receive and ensure the safety of your child at the destination. 
  • Arrange for a backup person in case the primary contact is unable to welcome your child. 
  • Confirm that the child has safely arrived. 

In all cases, the safety and well-being of your child should be an absolute priority. Taking preventive measures and ensuring your child feels safe and confident can significantly contribute to a successful and solo trip. 

The holidays are a time for creating long lasting memories and connecting with loved ones. By taking steps to ensure your child’s safety, we contribute to create a safe environment during this magical season, offering children the opportunity to experience unforgettable moments in peace and serenity.