Too often kids get lost simply because they wander off in interesting places, such as a department store full of colorful holiday things, an amusement park, beach or music event. In most situations, within a few minutes they make their way back to the family in just a minute or two, or a policeman or guard finds and returns them.
In the worst scenario, they may be abducted by strangers. The best way to prevent temporary loss or a more serious tragedy from happening to your kids, is to take sensible precautions by making sure they always carry a form of identification. There are many reasons why you should assure your child’s safety.
1. Take cell phones when you’re with your kids in crowded areas, such as athletic events, concerts, at the beach or amusement park. For kids old enough to call, give them phones, too. In a situation when they believe they’re lost, teach them to go to a uniformed person, call your pre-programmed cell phone number or 9-1-1.
2. For the youngest who can’t use cell phones, a loose ID tag may not be the best, because it can easily be torn off. Try a stick-on label that clings well to skin or clothing. If you’re at a crowded place and moving around, there are temporary stick-ons you can put on a child’s arm, leg or shirt front.
With a black waterproof, non-toxic marker, write the child’s full name and your cell-phone number on the tag. If you travel often with small kids, you can buy a pack of pre-printed stick-ons with the information on them.
3. Put small, folded ID papers with parent names and cell phone numbers inside little kids’ pockets, hats, stockings or shoes. If they’re lost and can’t talk well yet, authorities can use the information so they can get in touch with parents quickly
4. Take along a digital camera. When the family is dressed for the day and as you arrive at the crowded event, take close-up photos of each family member, especially the youngest ones. One way to make the ID more effective is to take mug shot photos of kids holding up signs with their names, parent names and cell phone numbers on them. If any child gets lost, you can show the photo on your camera file to authorities. This will clearly indicate what the child looks like, including clothing worn for that day.
There are many reasons why kids should always carry a form of ID on them, whether playing alone in the back yard or among thousands of strangers. The most important purpose for the ID is that if they stray or become lost, chances of reuniting them with their families are the most favorable.