There are steps every parent can take to prevent this from happening. Here are six tips to avoid losing a young child in a public place.
1. Dress your child in bright colors. Make sure they dress in bright-colored clothing if you’re planning to spend time in a public place that day. And be sure to memorize what the child is wearing.
2 .Make a plan. If you’re going to a mall, an outdoor market, or a beach, take a moment to ensure that everyone knows what to do if the group gets separated. Agree on a meeting place, such as a customer service booth, a fast-food restaurant, or a lifeguard’s station.
3. Train your child. Beyond the specific plan for a particular situation, your child should be able to follow basic instructions. Teach them what kind of adult to approach when they get lost or are in distress — a police officer or security guard, a store employee, or a mother with children. Tell them to explain their situation and to ask the adult for help. Train them not to get into a stranger’s vehicle, not to hide, and not to stray too far.
4. Teach your child to recite specific data. Your child should be able to tell a responsible adult their full name and age, their home address or hotel name, and their parent’s name and cell phone number. You may need to spend time coaxing young or shy children to recite this information.
5. Keep a recent digital photo of your child with you at all times. If your child does get lost in a public place, it is beneficial to have a picture to show other searchers.