Summer is a time many families enjoy partaking in outdoor activities and travel more frequently. When planning for a fun outing, families generally plan to take along items like drinks, snacks and sunscreen. One thing that families may not think much about is safety.
During outings, young children can easily become distracted with the sights and sounds around them. They may tend to wander off or fall behind when walking with their family. Even if parents monitor them closely during outings, a child can get lost or separated in a short amount of time. Whether you are visiting a local swimming pool or traveling to an amusement park, it is important to plan ahead and teach your children what to do if they get lost or separated from you.
Here are some tips to make your outings more safe:
- Charge your cellphone and have school-age children memorize your phone number.
- Plan for emergencies by locating information desks or customer service areas where your child can go for help.
- Teach your child how to ask for help. Have them practice giving their full name, phone number, your name and other basic information.
- Carry a recent family photo or use a cellphone to a take a picture of your child before leaving for an outing. This can help authorities look for your child in a crowd.
- Remember what your child is wearing. It is recommended to dress your child in bright colors to make it easier to identify them in a crowd. Also, help your child to remember what you are wearing by playing a game. Ask your child to look at your clothes, then close their eyes and describe what you are wearing.
- Identify adults who can help. Teach young children to look for security officers or store employees.
- Choose a meeting spot. Instruct older children to go to a designated spot if separated. Tell your child not to leave the area and not to go to the parking lot to look for you.
- If your child gets separated from you, tell them to stop where they are and you will come find them.
- Walk with young children in front of you and within reach.
- Have contact information in your child’s pocket. If staying at a hotel, put the hotel business card in their pocket.
Be sure to always praise your child(ren) for following the safety guidelines. For additional ways to keep your child safe when going out,
to visit the “Going Out Checklist
from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s KidSmartz website.
You can also find more parent tips and video resources to teach your child about personal safety on the KidSmartz website at