Do you go to parks, zoos, amusement parks, festivals, busy, crowded places on vacation? What would you do if your child got lost? What would your child do if she got lost?
Usually luggage and pets have better identification than children - why? Is it because we think kids can talk for themselves? Or maybe you think my child will not get lost, I am a great parent and I am always watching them.
If your child is lost, do you think she will know the right information and be able to communicate it to others? There is no substitute for parent supervision, but are you going to let your pride keep you from preparing for this very real issue? A better idea is for your child to have the phone numbers and information written down in an identification bracelet, tag or card and be taught what to do if they become lost.
Children are infinitely more precious than luggage or pets and therefore need to have some sort of ID at all times, especially when on an outing or vacation. The best way for a lost child to be returned quickly is for them to have all the information needed to reach you, written down.
There are many different styles of child identification. You have to pick what will work best for your child and the situation. There are stickers to go inside shoes, shoe tags that go on the shoelaces, ID bracelets, ID tags that can be attached to the child's cloths, ID cards that can be carried in a pocket and our newest product - a temporary tattoo.
The ID should contain all the information needed for the child to get in touch with you. At a minimum it should include: mom and dad's cell numbers, grandparent's number(s), and your hotel phone number. Give it some thought and see what you think your child would need if they were to become lost.
Then, put that information in writing and put it on your child in some form.
Another help is for you to carry a wallet ID for each child. These IDs contain a photo, height, weight, birthmarks, thumb print. If your child becomes lost your can immediately give this card to others to speed the correct information being given to everyone helping you look for your child.
Anyone caring for your child should have this wallet ID.
Caution: don't put your child's name on the outside of bracelets, bags or clothing. This would give a stranger the opportunity to speak to them by name, making some children feel like the person is not a stranger since they knew their name. All the information can be written inside the bracelet or tag so that it can be looked at only if needed.
Small children need to be taught what being lost means. One way to describe it is if they can't see mommy or daddy. Then, they need to be told what to do if they are lost. One suggestion is to teach them to look for another mommy with kids to ask for help.
Cynthia Powell, Chicks & Cubs
Offering Child Safety Products for Families