The Short of It
You can never be too cautious when it comes to taking kids to crowded summer places, and these creative—and easy!—tips can help keep your children a little safer during your next trip to the farmers market or water park.
Ahh, summer! It means beaches, concerts and outdoor music festivals. They sound so inviting, but they all mean one thing: crowds. They're annoying for grown-ups and often downright scary for little kids—what happens if you get separated?
The police department in Clovis, Calif., recently posted on its Facebook page a couple preventive safety hacks for when you take little ones to crowded public places.
"Taking your young child to a big event, theme park, or other busy location?" the post reads. "Write your phone number on their wrist and cover it with liquid band-aid in case you get separated."
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They also suggested taking a pic of your kids with your cell phone the morning of the event so you'll have an up-to-date photo and know exactly what they were wearing.
The tips were part of a re-post from a few months back, but that didn't stop them from quickly going viral, racking up more than 23,000 shares.
Child development expert Dr. Deborah Gilboa told Today that both of the police deparment's tips are very effective. She also shared her personal strategies for when she takes her own kids out in public.
- For starters, she says you should teach any child over the age of 4 to memorize your cell phone number. "If they can learn a song, they can learn a number," she explains. "Being able to tell a safety officer how to get in touch with their grown-up will teach kids a valuable life skill and also help them calm down."
- Then once you get to your destination, Gilboa says it's important to point out to your child the people who work there."Help them identify employees or lifeguards," she says. "And then make sure they can tell you how they know that person works here (has a radio on their belt, is wearing a particular shirt, has a nametag) so that they can figure it out without you."
- If you're at an event with assigned seating, like a concert or baseball game, Gilboa suggests giving your kids their own seat ticket to hold onto or put in their pocket. "Most security guards and ushers will bring kids back to their seat if they know where it is or have their ticket stub," she explains.
- And finally, we know it sounds scary, but assume you'll get separated and have a plan in place. "Give your kids lots of reminders about staying together, but also talk about what you'll do when you can't find each other," Gilboa says. "This makes kids less scared when it happens and makes the whole group more prepared."
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Losing my kids while out in public has always been a huge fear of mine, so I always make sure to remind them to stick close. But the best plans can still go awry, which is why we also have a designated meeting spot in case we get split up.
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And while my kids are old enough now to know all our phone numbers, I love the liquid band-aid trick—never heard that one before!
What are some safety hacks you use when venturing out with your kids? Please share them in the comments!