As parents, most of us have had the experience of suddenly realizing we have no idea where our child has gone. They were just beside you and now they are no where to be found. Red alert has set in and you're now asking everyone around you if they've seen your little one. Luckily, most children are found rather quickly. Even luckier, most children survive the reaction of their parents when found. ;)
I've been raising two boys in possibly the biggest and busiest travel destination in the world for the last couple of years. During that time, I've learned a thing or two about keeping them safe and there are a few precautions that I take to help my peace of mind.
1. The most important thing to do before you get to your destination, is to talk to your kids about where you're going and what you'll be doing. Remind them what you've told them about strangers. Make sure you set some rules about keeping close to you and not running off. Talking about this before you get to a crowded place helps them to focus on your words and not everything else around them.
2. Find A Mom! During my big speech before we hit our destination I always remind my boys who to go to if they do get lost. I've always felt safest telling my boys to "Find a Mom". They know that if they get lost they should find a mom with kids and tell her they're lost. I feel like I can trust another mother to help keep my boys safe and help them find me or my husband.
3. Dress them in bright clothing, matching shirts, or wear family shirts. Obviously it's a lot easier to look for and spot a neon green shirt in a crowd.
4. Take a photo of your children in what they're wearing that day. As soon as we get out of our car and before we take anymore steps toward where we are headed, I line my boys up and take a clear photo of them. This way I have a 'just incase' updated photo of them with what they are wearing and it's easy to just pull out your phone and ask someone if they've seen your child and show them a current picture from that day.
5. Hands on rule. We have a rule with our boys when we are in a crowded area that they must always have a hand on Mom or Dad at all times, until we give them permission for hands off. They must be holding one of our hands, latching my bag(so I feel the weight of them and know they are still beside me), or holding one of our shirts. When we are in the a busy grocery store I usually have the hands on rule with the shopping cart. It has worked really well for us.
I know every kid is different. Sometimes things get overwhelming. I still recommend the above tips and tricks and also suggest maybe getting a wrist or body leash. It sounds silly at first, but I do know parents that wouldn't have been able to travel without a child leash. It is better to be safe than sorry. ;)