Have you been looking for encouragement and practical help to keep your kids safe while you shop and travel? Then look no more! The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has come up with just the encouragement and help you need!
Talk With Your Kiddos Beforehand
The NCMEC urges parents to talk with children about safety before heading out to a busy shopping mall or boarding a plane, train, bus or other form of public and potentially crowded transportation. When kids are separated from their parents, it causes confusion and fear. If that happens, you need a plan. Here’s some dos and don’ts to include in your plan:
Keep your kids with you at all times while shopping.
Stay with them and supervise them in public facilities, including restrooms.
Have a plan in case you become separated, including a predetermined placet to meet.
Teach children to look for people who can help, such as a uniformed security officer, salesperson or mother with children.
Remind kiddos to remain in the area where they become separated.
Dress your kids in clothing that shows their first or last names, prompting unwelcome attention from people looking for an opportunity to start a conversation with your child.
Go shopping or attend a public event with your kiddos if you feel you’re going to be distracted. Make other arrangements for child care before hand.
Allow younger children to shop on their own to purchase surprise gifts for anyone.
Drop off older children at a mall or public place without agreeing on a clear plan for picking them up, including: where, what time, and what to do in case plans change.
Other Tips to Know:
If your child is ever flying or riding a train or bus alone, remember to:
-specify that the child will be alone when making the reservations.
-book a non-stop flight or direct route whenever possible. Try not to book the last flight of the day.
-plan to visit the airport, train or bus terminal before the trip.
-Let your child know what to expect, so the experience will not be so intimidating.
– Remain at the station or gate until the train, plane or bus departs in case of delays or cancellation.
– Make sure children travel with proper identification and parents or guardian contact information.
– Always have a back-up plan for the person or people meeting the plane at the destination, in case something happens such as being delayed.
– Encourage children not to become too friendly with other passengers or to reveal any personal information.
Safe Ride 4 Kids offers great tips and products for families with disabled children, traveling vests instead of car seats and help for pregnant mommies.