As the weather starts to get prettier, more families are heading out to the zoos, parks, and public amusement parks. The probability of losing a child in these places is slim, but the possibilities are there. It’s always a good idea to make sure everyone is prepared and has a plan in place for emergency separations. Follow these 5 Tips to Keep your Kids Safe in Public Places so everyone will be able to rest easier. You will know that if something unplanned happens and someone gets lost, then the outcome will be quick reconciliation.
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5 Tips to Keep your Kids Safe in Public Places
Snap a Picture:
One mom I spoke with says she always takes a picture of the kids before they begin their public adventure. That way if one of the kids does get separated, she will be able to show a picture rather than just give a verbal description. With the ease of messaging and sharing across the mobile devices, imagine how helpful this would be in the case of a missing child. No one would have to guess what the child looks like, they would be able to see a picture from that very day with the child’s clothes, hair etc.
While speaking with a representative from the Park Ranger Department of the Knoxville Zoo, he suggested one extra thing that would make this picture even more helpful. Take the picture next to a landmark in the park. If the child is standing next to the statue of the rhino or beside the zoo welcome sign, it will be very easy to get a more exact idea of how tall the child is.
If you don’t have a picture, then at least make sure you can remember a detailed description of the clothes a child is wearing. Be specific – logo and pattern in addition to color.
Attach your cellphone number:
If your kids are old enough, they should all memorize your cellphone number. A home number does little good in a situation where people are separated. On a school zoo trip I recently took, the teacher distributed the cell phone numbers for all the chaperones so that we could all get in contact easily throughout the day.
If your child doesn’t know your cell phone number, write it on a tag inside their shirt, put your contact information inside their backpack or use a safety lanyard. There are even products that you can attach to shoes or use as temporary tattoos or stickers.
Teach the child to stay put.
When you go to a zoo or park, the child should know to stay where they last saw their parent. It is easier for the safety personnel and Park Rangers to find a child if they know the area to start looking rather than hearing that a child has been instructed to head toward the front gate. Establish a protocol so the children and the parents know what the other person is going to do.
Find the Safe People:
We have always told our children that if they ever get separated, they should look for the safe people and go to them immediately. Safe people include police officers, official employees or moms with young children. When you first get to a zoo or park, point out the staff members. Typically they will all be wearing the same sort of shirts or badge. These people will have two way radios and be able to immediately contact other park rangers and help coordinate a reunion.
Wear the right colors:
Some families or groups make a point to all wear the same color shirts on public trips. This helps in a quick glance to make sure everyone is accounted for.
While speaking to the representative from the Park Ranger Department of the Knoxville Zoo about safety procedures, he mentioned again that it is never a bother for a parent to approach a park staff member with a concern about a missing child. They would much rather have false alarms rather than have you wait till there is a real problem and then have the situation turn more serious.
Do you talk to your kids about what to do in unplanned emergency situations? Have you got any tips that you use to keep everyone safe and connected in public places? I’d love to hear!