Preparing for the worst: six crucial things to teach your kids when they get lost

Written by Eve Bandusena | Parents Avenue’s Editorial Assistant

Image Source: Deposit Photos

It can happen in a second. It can happen to any parent. It can happen anywhere.

Every day, an average of 4 children in Malaysia go missing. According to a report published by PDRM (Polis Diraja Malaysia), the official portal of missing children and teenagers recorded approximately 834 cases of missing kids, 572 of whom were girls while 262 were boys.

Following the cases of missing children by each state, Johor was reported with the highest number of cases with 140, Kuala Lumpur comes in second with 115 and Sabah follows-up with 100. 

As parents, scrolling through the database of missing children is more than gut-wrenching. As much as we empathize with the parent of missing children and send them our good wishes, we can’t stop to ponder “What if it was my child instead that went missing?”

This is a tough thought to digest.

Instead of imagining the worst, we must instead take necessary preventive steps to minimize the outcome of any mishap. Having this talk with your children can be difficult but it’s important to arm your child with these safety tips should they ever get lost.

#1 Remember the Full Name, Phone Number and Address of Their Parents

Have your kids remember your full name instead of just referring to you as “Mom” and “Dad”. Why is this you may ask? When a child yells “Mom” or “Dad” in a crowd it’s imperceptible, generic and there are tons of kids with “Moms”. It’s encouraged to empower them to yell your full name in a crowd of people instead of staying silent.

Memorizing phone numbers can be a little challenging for some children especially younger ones but thankfully many teaching methods will help them recall it such as playful games and puzzles.

Getting kids to remember their street address so others have an idea of where to get started to help them. Most of this requires practice, it can be done on the ride to and back from school, get them to sing it with you and repeat it to you until they’ve perfected it.

#2 Teach Them Stay Put

When we realize our child is missing, we automatically think of the last place they were at. Teach them not to come looking for you but instead to remain at the same place so that you’ll know where to look for them. Explain this thought process to them so they’ll understand it.

#3 Find a Mom with Children and Ask for Help

If the second option doesn’t work, teaching your child to search for a mother with children for help is the next best safe option according to safety experts. This is when the child’s knowledge of their parent’s full name, phone number and address will come in handy and the mom will attempt to make contact with the child’s parents.

#4 Simulate the Situation

Role-playing can be a fun way for your child to learn what-to-do and what-not-to-do if this scenario should arise. Ideally, you can practice this periodically with your child before heading to any crowded areas or places. 

As stated on Very Health Family, the NCMEC recommends going over various types of scenarios such as:

  • “What would you do if you couldn’t see me?”
  • “What would you do if you don’t see a mom with a child right away after you realize we had been separated?”
  • “What would you do if a stranger said you should go with them to find me?”
#5 Stay Within View

Follow the general rule of thumb, keep your kids where you can see them and keep them close. Although this advice has been given time and time again, it’s understandable why it’s survived the test of time.

#6 Invest in a Kid’s GPS Tracker

These days, monitoring your child has never been easier. Currently, in the market, there are GPS trackers for kids that come in all shapes and sizes such as watches, pins, and key chains that they’ll love. This not only allows you to know where your child is at all times but also features other functions such as GPS boundaries, add-in programmed phone numbers and even call or text them at certain times. A little goes a long way and this is worth investing in for your child’s safety.

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