Every year in Canada, dozens of children get lost in public places. This experience is a harrowing one for both the parents and the child. It is so easy for both adults and children to become easily distracted by all the excitement and attractions and it only takes a few seconds for a young child to disappear. We encourage you to take a few minutes to plan your next outing and don’t forget to include your children in that process. By planning ahead of time, the experience will be a more enjoyable one from beginning to end!
Please consider the following when planning outings in public places:
– Consider dressing your children in brightly coloured clothes so they may be more easily spotted.
– Make sure to download the SIGN4L application with a recent photo of your child. It will prove to be a valuable tool in the event that you are separated from your child.
– Upon arrival at your destination, identify with your child all the people and places where he can seek help if needed.
– Remind your child that he must stay within eyesight at all times.
– Make a plan in case you become separated. Have older kids meet you at a pre-designated spot.
– Should your child become separated from you, go to the nearest Help/Information Centre and ask for assistance from an employee. This person is usually identified with a name badge.
– Tell your child if they are approached by anyone who tries to take them away that they are to yell, “This person is not my father (mother)! I need help!”
– Remind your child to never leave to look for you or return to the car without you.
– Instruct your child to never accept gifts, prize or offers from anyone without first asking for your permission.
Sometimes accidents happen to children when we assume that someone else is looking after them. During family gatherings, designate one adult to be in charge of the children. Make sure this person knows exactly what his responsibilities are. Identify the adult in charge! For example, have him wear a colourful and playful accessory such as a hat and then when his supervision duties are over, ask that he pass the hat on to the next person who will take over and so on and so forth!