When your child gets lost…

It was our first day of vacation and everyone was excited!  We had an adult to kid ratio of 6 to 2, so we were feeling confident that we could navigate all the throngs of people easily and not lose anyone.

We were wrong.

While walking to our next destination, we came to a fork in the road and among hundreds of other visitors and all the looking up at the sights, Miles went one way while the rest of us went the other.

Cue panic and fear.

Luckily we noticed it right away, but it still took us a good 10 minutes of hell to find him.  He was just as scared as we were, but because he was prepped he was able to remember what to do to help himself to find his family.  It was a good reminder to always be alert and aware, but also of the importance of preparing your kids for the worst, even if it never comes into practice.

Some tips for teaching your kids what to do if they get lost: 

–  Take a picture of your kids each morning in the clothes they are wearing for the day in case you need to show it to people to help locate your child and give an accurate description of what they were wearing.  In moments of panic it is easy to forget what color shirt or pant, if they were wearing sneakers or crocs, etc.

–  always be aware of where everyone is and do frequent head counts.  Even adults are susceptible to getting separated from the group if they are looking up, or have stopped to take a picture.

–   Impress upon your child the importance of staying put once they realize they are lost.  You will find them much faster if they are not wandering around.

–  Once they stop, find someone to help them find you.  Look for an employee (they wear name tags or have uniforms that look the same), look for a police officer or security guard, or look for a mother with small children.  When we found Miles he was walking towards an employee.

–  Teach them your cell phone number.  If they can find a trusted adult they will be able to quickly locate you if they know your number.  We made the number into a song and he remembered it when he was 4 years old.

–  If your child is too young to remember their phone number, there are customizable temporary tattoos you can have made to place on your child in case they get lost.

–  Try to stay calm.  It is nearly impossible to not be gripped with fear and have trouble breathing, but remain focused on finding your kid- you can be a sobbing mess after they are found.

–  Once you and your child are reunited, do not place blame or scold them.  Let them know how scared you were and how glad you are that you found them.  Also if they followed the steps above how proud of them you are.  They will be shaken up and need comfort, not a lesson.

–   This is a good time to find a place to have ice cream or a treat and collect yourselves.  Try not to dwell on the situation, and take this time to allow your blood pressure to come down and get back to having fun!

–  Remember that it can happen to anyone, you are not a bad parent because your child got lost.

Has your child ever gotten lost?  What steps do you take to ensure your children know what to do if they get lost?


6 thoughts on “When your child gets lost…

  1. I’m glad it turned out okay for you – what a scary experience! Taking pictures is a really good idea, especially because you can do it quickly with a smartphone and then have it with you.


  2. OMG, i would completely lose my shit. I’m so sorry that happened Dena! Very glad for the quick reunification and thank you for sharing important tips.


  3. Very frightening but there was a happy ending. Our son dusappeared on Mother’s Day 5 years ago at Captain’s Cove in Bridgeport. It was horrifying. I had promptd him to use the restroom since he had tota;;y graduated to underwear. He loudly protested and I just asked him to go to the man’s room. I turned aournd and he was gone. Sheer panic set in and we immediately asked the staff for assistance. The pother families nearby assisted and as the restaurant manager was ready to search in the water, He was spotted walking out of the ladies’ room holding the hand of a woman, another mother. My husabnd and I hugged him for several minutes and then started a discussion on the drive home. He has memorized my cell phone number and knows to ask a person in a uniform for assistance. More imnportantly, he stays with us at a public place.


  4. The tattoo is genius!!! Thanks for this idea- soooo doing this next time we go on a family trip! Glad things worked out well in the end, and I 100% agree about NOT scolding them. Especially since Miles did just what he was supposed to in a scary situation. That DEFINITELY deserves a treat!


  5. Oooh, I like those tattoos. I got some security bracelets (snap on and are impossible to take off) but my kids don’t like them and are constantly whining to take them off. I’ve seen the safetytat ones, but am skeptical about those since they are supposedly more like stickers. I like the ones you linked over!


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