It's time to stock up on folders, notebooks, and backpacks! Crowded stores aren't playgrounds for kids, but most parents have to take their tykes shopping at some point. To ensure your children's safety during trips to the mall — especially during the hustle and bustle of the back-to-school season — check out these simple tips that provide peace of mind.
Pay attention in parking lots: People in a mad dash to the mall can make parking lots especially dangerous, as they don't always look both ways before backing out. Make it a rule to hold hands when you and your wee ones walk through any lot and garages.
Map out a plan: Once you get to the mall, map out a plan in case your family gets separated. Pick a central and easily accessible place to meet up. Your tot's favorite store is an ideal destination as the youngster will likely remember its location and name. Advise small kids to seek store personnel or a security guard for assistance.
Stay seated in shopping carts: While it's tempting to let an antsy tot climb in or around the shopping cart, it's not a safe practice. Children, especially babies, are at great risk of injury in doing so. So follow the rules and strap your wee one in the front seat and never leave her unattended.
Don't talk to strangers: In a crowded place, a predator can easily slip away with a child. Remind your kids to stay by your side and not to accept goodies or go off with strangers.
Carry a snapshot: It's better safe than sorry so use your phone to capture your child on film before entering a crowded place. That way if anything were to happen, you would know what he was wearing. Along those same lines, it takes a matter of minutes for an abductor to change a child's appearance, so carrying pictures of your wee one's identifying characteristics, whether it be a birthmark, a scar, or a unique eye color, could help in the event that he or she goes missing. While this is unsettling, it's best to be prepared.