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Attention Shoppers, We Have A Small, Lost, Three Year-Old Boy With Red Hair........
By Scott Irwin
Have you ever been shopping in a busy mall, stopped to look at something only to discover that in the brief time it took to do so, your child has wandered away from you? If in reading this question you are able to answer no, you undoubtedly know someone who has be en in this situation.
Each minute, somewhere in the country, a parent is separated from their child. These separations sometimes last only a few seconds; in other instances they last much longer, causing the store to go into a lock-down situation. The truth of the matter is, wherever there are large crowds; parades, country fairs, busy city streets etc., young children will inevitably become separated from their parents.
I speak with hundreds of parents a week, though the situations and circumstances may vary slightly, I have heard the same scenario repeated over and over again. The end result is always the same. Panic in its purest form, 100% pure unadulterated panic.
In situations when the child is not located within a few moments, the parent will be asked by either a store employee, security staff or even a police officer to provide an accurate description of the lost child, as well as what the child was wearing at the time. In a similar situation, when in a state of panic, would you be able to provide an accurate description of your child?
Let's be honest with ourselves, all young children look more or less the same! With the exception of the color of their skin, hair and eyes, all young children are short, cute, have big beautiful eyes and a few missing teeth. Add to this the fact that in this situation, most parents do not remember what their child was wearing at the time.
Most parents, often the mother, carry their children's identification in the form of Medicare information and Social Insurance cards. However, very few fathers carry any of their chi ld's specific identification. As proud fathers, they have one if not several pictures of their child. However, as the child grows older, those pictures are updated less and less frequently.
When looking for a Child ID provider, find one whose program includes wallet-sized identification profile cards for your children. These profile cards will allow you to list your child's specific identification, including a recent picture. One thing to keep in mind is that children grow like weeds, so you will want to find a program that provides you with an unlimited supply. This will allow you to update them as required. A good rule of thumb is to update the information and picture every three months until children reach the age of three, and at least once a year thereafter.
When reading this, please don't think that because your child is rarely out of your sight, this could never happen to you. When arriving at the scene, this is inevitably the first thing the responding police officers hear from the parents. These situations occur not out of neglect, but due to everyday situations that are completely out of our control.
The pro-active and preventative measures you have taken as a responsible parent, to ensure your child's safety, will be invaluable in helping you to provide the authorities with accurate information when time is of the essence, should you ever find yourself in a similar situation.
Do not procrastinate! Remember the Boy Scout motto "Always be prepared". Make sure that both parents never leave home without their child's identification.
Would you leave home without yours?
About The Author
Scott Irwin is the Marketing Director for Child I.D. Labels inc., which has been protecting and providing ID for children and families across North America for more than 10 years.