Now that summer is finally within reach, people are gearing up for those long-awaited family vacations to theme parks, the beach, or just an outing somewhere local, like a baseball game or a concert in the park. The venue is really not that important just as long as everyone has fun, fun, fun. Well, whatever your plans are, please make it your ultimate goal to keep your family, especially your little ones, safe because “every 40 seconds, a child goes missing,” and this is not fun. We all would like to think that something like this will never happen to us, and as a result, we form a false sense of security. But it is because of this complacency, that I experienced the fright of my life.
Not too long ago, I lost sight of my 41/2 year old for 2 minutes while we were at the lake, and in that 2 minutes, my world literally came tumbling down. My mind struggled to even understand that she might be missing, but I knew I did not see her. After I yelled her name out for what felt like the 100th time, I immediately became a bumbling fool. I did not know in which direction to move. My body was heavy. I was a ball of emotions. All of a sudden, I had become that mother who turned her head away for a fraction of a minute and had lost sight of her child. A fraction of a minute was all it took. As I scanned the play area to find her, everyone I saw had instantly become “the big bad wolf”. No one was to be trusted. All sorts of thoughts flooded my mind, and the ache in my heart was inexplicable as I experienced a pain I wish for no other mother. And then, I saw her. She was perfect, she was fine. She had been looking for me while I was looking for her. I hugged the older gentleman responsible for setting my world right again. I hugged him tight. My heart was happy. I was relieved, but forever changed.
Now that it’s all over, and I finally mustered up enough courage to tell my husband that I lost our daughter (not a happy conversation), I can share my experience with you. I want others to know that anything that takes your attention away from your child is a distraction none of us can afford to have. As parents, we must always be on alert; it’s our most important job.
1. Put the cell phone down, pay attention to your children, and your surroundings.
2. Teach your children your personal information: your real name and your cell phone number.
3. Drill your children how to behave when they are separated from you.
4. Visit your local Police Department to have officers speak with you and your family about safety.
5. Take frequent pictures of your children when you are vacationing. Take one every morning if you are traveling.