Whenever I took my then 5 year old son to nearby mall, he loved walking up and down the aisles, exploring the shelves, especially if it was children department. But on one such shopping trip, while I was engrossed with filling my cart, he wandered away and did not come back. He wasn’t at his usual places, the toys section, the birthday party supplies section, the children books section. Panic set in as I kept shouting his name and running down the aisles looking at every kid present. With every passing second my heartbeat rose, felt like it is going to explode.
Just then an elderly man came in holding hand of my son. “I found this boy about to walk out of the mall towards parking area” he said, breathless. The relief and joy I felt on seeing him again when my mind was full with awful what-ifs.
Anyone who has been a parent has experienced the terror of not able to find your child briefly, whether at aisles of a store, in park or right inside your apartment campus or neighbourhood. Children have this ability to get lost out of your sight in matter of seconds.
India has terrible statistics on children getting lost. According to data from National Crime Records Bureau, a child goes missing every 8 minutes. Almost 40% of those children have not been found.
I know this is every parent’s worst fear. We can still educate ourselves and our children to be prepared if it happens and to stop it from happening through these simple preventive measures
Teach your child these crucial information
From as young as toddler tell your child about possibility of getting lost. You should also tell your child repeatedly that you would never leave without her. She should wait for you at the point where you left her.
4 Years and under
- Their first and last name
- Parents full name.
- Don’t go anywhere with, accept anything from, or get into a car with anyone.
- Your cell-phone number. You can be reunited more quickly if you get separated.
- A “safe list.” Three to five people like woman with children, police officer who are always okay for your child to talk to.
8 YEARS AND UP
- An easy-to-find meeting place like reception, restroom if you get separated.
- A buddy or a sibling to come along to places (like a restroom) your child is starting to visit independently. There’s more safety in numbers.
- Tell your child to yell loudly if anyone tries to make him go somewhere.
Things to do before you set out to any crowded place where you and your child can get separated.
Your cell phone number in writing
Even if your child remembers your contact number, it is best to write and keep it with her in case she forgets it. Writing number on wrist or on paper and put it in shoe or pocket of dress.
Dress your child in bright colours
Dress your child in bright and easy to spot colours like orange, neon colours. A bright colour may act as deterrent to predators ad they tend to avoid kids who draw attention.
Snap a day picture of your child. Say cheese. Click a picture of your child on your phone before heading out. It will help in case of panic when parents forget what exactly their child was wearing. That day picture would help in locating the child in case she is lost.
Child safety tool kit:These products from tattoos to GPS trackers will help you find your child.
Child ID kit: Make your child wear his school ID card or make one with his photo, name, weight, and your contact details.
Temporary tattoos: Write your number on one of these waterproof tattoos and paste it on your child’s wrist.
Safety Tracker: GPS tracker phone like Monito. You can call on child’s number and locate him quickly.
How using a child safety device like Monito helps in finding your child?
Make sure to charge the device fully before the day of outing.
Make sure monito is on your child’s body in lanyard or in her backpack or sling purse which she is carrying.
Make sure that there is enough balance on SIM card of device and outgoing and incoming calls are possible. Do a demo call.
Make sure monito and your phone, both are on ringer mode and not on silent.
In case you are not able to find your child, all you need to do is call on her number and asking her to wait at her location.
Alternatively she can also call you and you can be united in minutes. When your child is using a safety tracker, you are more confident that even in case you are separated you’re your child, with one call you can find her. Monito keeps children safe and connected with parents.