Packed parking lots and 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 holiday season — check out these simple tips that provide peace of mind.
What's the quickest way to find a missing child in a crowded place? While American answers may range from contacting authorities to launching a search or issuing Amber Alerts, in Argentina they start with something a bit simpler. A colleague told me about her traveling friend's post on Facebook. It said:
"Yesterday, whilst sitting in the middle of an extremely crowded beach near Mar del Plata, Argentina, a slow, small chorus of claps started up and proceeded to grow in number as more people joined in. I was perplexed, and even more so when my companions also joined the chorus without hesitation. I asked my friend what was happening, and she explained that in Argentina, when someone encounters a lost child in a crowded area and can't find the parent they start to clap. Then those around join in and so on, thus alerting the parent(s) as to the child's whereabouts. She said the same thing had happened for her on more than one occasion when she was a child, as she had a tendency to wander. It was an example of community working together that I had not previously encountered, and I was impressed. Once the parent(s) and child are reunited, there is a big cheer and more applause. So [the] only weakness I see is that I am not sure what happens if a second child gets lost at precisely that moment . . . "
Have you heard of things similar to this?
My heart leaps into my throat just thinking about the anguish moms experience when their worst nightmare — their child going missing — becomes a reality. While television, radio, and freeway messages are helpful in spreading the word about abductions, little compares to the mass reach of a story going viral. Today, Facebook launches its partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to increase awareness of kids that go missing.
One report said:
Facebook users will now be able to follow Amber Alert pages for their states, and news of missing children nearby will then show up in their news feed. Organizers hope the partnership will harness Facebook's more than 500 million users to help locate some of the 800,000 children reported missing each year.
Will you use your social networking time to lend a link?
Every mother has at least one of those moments when she starts to panic and thinks her child is missing. Sometimes the tot is hiding behind her leg or the youngster has crawled inside a clothing rack, but the instinct to search for them is the same. To help parents avoid dealing with this stress, there are several gadgets on the market to keep track of kiddos. Would you invest in them or do you find devices extreme?
Cindy Anthony, the same woman who reported her granddaughter, Caylee, missing, is standing behind her daughter, Casey Anthony, 22, who has been indicted for murdering the two-year-old girl. After telling police that Casey's car smelled like something had died in it, the grandmother is now saying she believes the child is alive. What would you do if you were in this position?
Two-year-old Caylee Anthony went missing six weeks ago, but it wasn't until last week that her mother, Casey reported her disappearance. She has since been arrested for obstructing the police investigation. If your child went missing, do you know what to do? The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has a few tips for parents and guardians. Test your knowledge by taking this quiz.Take the Quiz
My heart leapt into my throat when I read a report that Portuguese prosecutors will examine the police report before deciding whether to drop the investigation or take further inquiries on the Madeleine McCann case. Last May, the 3-year-old disappeared from the resort room where she slept with her two year-old twin siblings while their parents dined out.
It's hard to imagine that the case could be closed (though they could reopen it at any point) with a young child's life at stake. What is your opinion?
It's better to be safe than sorry and since many families are headed to amusement parks and other crowded destinations with their tots this Summer, you may consider taking a few precautions. Yesterday, Greggie shared this great tip in response to how she keeps track of her kids. She said:
I take a picture of them before we enter so that if something were to happen, I could give that picture to the authorities as an exact description of what they were wearing.
Along those same lines, someone once told me that it takes a matter of minutes for a predator 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.
While no parent is perfect, do you think you could misplace your child?
A 2-year-old was left at a Texas Chuck E. Cheese last weekend. Her father didn't realize she was missing until he saw her picture in the news two days later.
The incident is said to have been a misunderstanding since an aunt took the little girl to a birthday party at the pizza place, and it was assumed that another aunt picked the tot up and took her home. It is not uncommon for the girl to stay with that aunt for days at a time. And, the father does not have a phone so he did not call them.