If you are planning a summer getaway with your family, you might start to get some anxiety about going into crowds. Whether you are going to Disney, the zoo, the beach, or a ballpark, you have to worry about losing your child in a crowd. Still, you can’t let that prevent you from opening up the world to your child – long before they are able to remember a phone number or use one for themselves.
Today’s world is dangerous and children don’t always understand that. Luckily, there are some ways you can help to keep your child safe in crowds.
1. ID Bracelets
Probably the most popular solution is to put an ID tag on your child. Whether you decide on a bracelet or a necklace is up to you, but this is a great way to have a permanent way to identify your child. You can put whatever you want on there – name, phone number, allergies, and other information. These bracelets and IDs are a little pricey depending how you get them, but can really help to keep your child safe.
In the past, an ID was given to children to keep them safe, but that can be a bit easy to lose.
There are nametags and IDs that are permanent and then some amusement parks directed toward children have tags that are similar to those used in hospitals that make it easy to put current information on them. Even better, you get a matching tag so that you can be matched up if something’s wrong.
Similarly, you can get temporary tattoos made that have something like a name and a phone number on them. These need to be purchased in bulk, so they might not be the best idea for people who change their phone number all that often.
To make your own, you just need to use a marker and then spray it with hairspray. Unless you are a water park, this should be enough to keep it on for a few hours.
Still, this is controversial because it is easily seen by anyone.
3. Child Safety Harnesses
Another controversial option is the child safety harness or the “child leash.” You will likely hear a lot of opinions on a safety harness, but they can be life savers for children who love to run around. Many parents take the stance that it is better for someone to look at you and make a snide comment than for your child to run into the street.
Remember that you are the only person who can comment on what keeps your child safe. Obviously you want to work with your child so that you can get to the point where you don’t have to use the leash, but not all children are there.
4. Hold Their Hands
This is such a simple solution that is sometimes gets overlooked. When you are in a crowd, teach your child to hold your hand no matter what. It might seem a little silly for an older child, but it could be lifesaving. It sometimes helps if you give your child two options – like hold your hand or sit in a stroller, hold your hand or don’t go, or hold your hand or use the leash.
5. Assign Buddies
If you have more than one child, don’t underestimate the buddy system. Have older children pair up with young children to help you take care of them all. Unless there is really an extreme age difference, you don’t want them to run off alone.
There are tools you can buy to connect the buddies together (like tethers) or you can use the hand holding method there as well.
6. Instill Safety Through Games
Talk to your children before you go out into the world. Children who don’t even talk yet will understand games that will teach them how to avoid danger. Teach them games like “Yes” and “No” and Stop and Go. Teach your child to stop when you say so and to listen when you say “No.”
7. Teach About Strangers
At the end of the day, the goal isn’t to make your child afraid of everyone that you meet. Instead, it is keep your child safe. Teaching about “stranger danger” is something you will have to do continually, though the conversations will change as your child ages.
When your child is extremely young, the best bet is to tell your child never to talk to anyone if you aren’t around. If they get lost teach them to find someone they can trust – like a worker or a police officer. Younger children can’t always do that, but older children can.
No matter what, your child’s safety is the most important thing. You shouldn’t care about what people think about how you do it, you just need to make sure you take care of your own. Always keep an eye out for other children as well – there are too many bad people out there.