Heading to a street festival or amusement park is all fun and games until the moment you realize the child you thought was by your side has wandered off.
Cue the stomach-dropping panic.
The solution is not to stay home and never have any fun, of course. Instead, it pays to be prepared for this occurrence so that the outcome is positive and quickly reached.
Here are a few things you can do to help you and your child feel prepared if he or she ever gets lost:
1. Teach Your Child To Call Your Real Name
There are bound to be many parents in the crowd, so teaching your child to call out your real name instead of just “Mom” or “Dad” will help their voices stand out and hopefully get your attention faster.
Knowing your first and last name will be helpful if your child is found and the adults helping him or her are trying to locate you, too.
2. Practice Getting Lost
This entails talking to your kids about strangers, about who to ask for help (Parents recommends teaching your child to look for another mom with kids if he or she is too young to identify a police officer) and then running through the scenario a few times so that it sinks in.
If you’ve ever had to ask your little one to put on her shoes more than once (ahem), you’ll know that information often has to be repeated several times before it’s absorbed!
3. Write Your Name And Number Somewhere It Can’t Be Washed Off Or Lost
This Facebook post from a police department in California has been shared more than 17,500 times.
Their advice? Write your name and phone number on your child’s wrist, then paint over it with liquid bandage so that the ink will stay put.
If your child does happen to wander away, another adult will know exactly how to reach you.
Beachgoers Help Lost Boy Find His Mom
One family experienced the terror of losing a child firsthand on a beach in Brazil recently.
On Dec. 21, 2017 at the beach of Perequê Açu in Ubatuba, one savvy beachgoer filmed a now-viral video (which you can watch below) after noticing a ruckus.
“We suddenly heard some clapping, at first we thought it was someone’s birthday but I noticed that the man who was with the child signaled that he was lost. It took a little more than 10 minutes for the child be found. But at the end, the clapping worked out,” according to YouTube’s ViralHog.
Everyone near the lost boy begin clapping and chanting “lost” in Portuguese. Around the 40-second mark, you’ll see that the clapping worked, and the mom rushes over to retrieve her son.
According to Britain’s Daily Mail, this is a common tactic on the beaches of Brazil, and it’s a pretty genius one, if I do say so myself. It’s a great way to draw attention to the child, while staying in one place. It’s much easier for the parent to come to the child than the other way around.