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What to Tell Your Child About Getting Lost (And Finding You)

A police officer told me about how one of the guidelines widely shared with children for getting lost, is wrong! Many parents tell their kids, “Look for an employee, security guard, or police officer,” or they tell their kids, “look for a mom or grandma with kids.”

     The officer told me if your child is lost, he or she should find the first adult he sees and say, “I am lost. Please help me find my (guardian).” He said they have found that the worst state for a lost child to be in is one wherein the child has a lost puppy look on his or her face and is crying, frustrated because he or she cannot find a “security person” or “police officer.” Likewise, looking specifically for “a mom or a grandma with kids” is almost as tough. What if that day your child gets lost is a day when you are at a store where mostly men shop? What if the day your child gets lost is a day wherein every child is in school and the people there are just senior citizens walking around shopping?

     It is best for the first person the child sees to aid the child in getting to the police officer, employee or security person. This way, the child feels confident immediately and can likely find you faster. The child is with an adult and is not afraid, crying and frustrated. This officer told me that 99% of the time, the first person the child sees will be a good person who would never harm a child. He said, if the child looks like a scared puppy and is crying, he or she will be lost for a longer time and, refusing to talk to strangers that would help, will have a greater chance of being spotted by a bad person with ill-intent. THAT person will be good at gaining the trust of the child because he or she is skilled and practiced. However, the child’s confidence in that person will be mal-placed.

     I think if your child has a photo of you and your name with him or her, that will increase the speed at which you will be found again. I also like to snap  a photo of each of my kids when we go to a crowded place. That way, if my child becomes lost, I have a photo to show people and say, “Have you seen this child?” Sometimes people ask, “What was he wearing?” You should be able to pull uo your cell ohone with the photo so they cna immediately have a visual of what he was wearing. As a mother of a larger family, I have lost my kids a few times. Every time, (with the help of prayer, my family and others) I find them within a couple minutes. This is relieving. By way of note, the child I find has not felt lost yet and is just enjoying life. It really takes quite some time for a child to look around and realize he or she cannot see mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, aunt or uncle.     

     One thing a parent should keep in mind when not being able to spot a child is that the parent must not be embarrassed to tell other parents around him or her. If I were embarrassed, I would not enlist immediate help from others and this would slow the time in finding my child. If you are shouting your child’s name, other people around you will immediately offer help in finding your lost child. If you are in a place like a playplace for kids with employees, the employees will all help together and more quickly. After all, they do not want their place to have a bad reputation.

     One time, we wereat Boondocks. I could not see my daughter. I am always looking around making sure I can see all my kids. I immediately told my family and started calling her name. A very young man asked me what she looked like and began looking. I found an employee and told her. She had a walkie talkie and told the security guard in the watchroom, who could see the whole place with cameras. Befor the team of employees could even get started, the first young man I mentioned had found her. It was wonderful of him. I am forever grateful. I hope God blessed him for it!

     It is a beautiful thing. People do not want a child to get lost or hurt. They will help quickly. I love that about people!

     God bless you never to lose your child for over 2 minutes! (Because losing your child at all will be a common thing).

Keywords: kidnapping, stranger danger, child safety

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