Lost Kid

Losing a kid is terrifying.

Aside from impromptu–and panic-inducing–games of hide-and-seek while shopping, I’ve misplaced a kid three times.   My oldest walked out of the house twice when he little, once to find Mommy at a neighbor’s house–he didn’t know which neighbor–and once to find Grandma, who was in the backyard, but he thought she went home.   With the first, a fireman got him to my wife.  With the second, we knew he was gone within a minute and guessed where he went.  He’d only made it a few blocks before I caught up to him.   My middle kid walked out of the back side of a playground and somehow ended up in the parking lot before an attendant found her and brought her back.

We all know what to do when your kids disappears.  If you’re in a store, you grab an employee and tell them your kid is missing.   They’ll help.    If you’re at the park, you have a heart attack while calling your kid’s name.  Simple.

What’s your kid supposed to do?

If you’re kid gets lost, tell them to find a woman and ask for help.  Tell them before they get lost.

There are 4 reasons.

  1. Pedophiles are rare.  Stranger-kidnappings are rare.  They are also predators, looking for a victim.  If your kid picks the stranger to talk to, the odds of picking someone who will victimize them are slim.
  2. Kids are short.  Employee uniforms are well above their line-of-sight and can be confusing to a little brat.   What’s the kid supposed to do if she gets lost outside of a store?  Simple rules for little minds.
  3. Women are very rarely predators.  It happens, but it’s a statistical anomaly within the statistical anomaly that is child-predation.  In general, women are safe.  They are also wired to watch out for small children.  It’s easier to get a strange woman to sympathize than a strange man.
  4. Women tend to be less intimidating to small children than men.

That’s it.  Tell your kids to find a woman and ask for help if they get lost.

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    1. In kindergarten, it was required that we memorize our address, so that if we ever got lost, we could tell a policeman where we lived. This was something that took me forever to do, not because my mailing address (a rural route) and my street address were different, but because my father was CO of our National Guard unit. In a small town, no police officer needed my address- that would confuse them. My father’s name (really, my last name) was all that was needed.
      I found out later that the police chief’s daughters had the same issue.

      • I grew up in a small town, too. At Christmas, we were visiting my parents. The presents fell out of my wife’s truck in the next town over. Somebody found the box and recognized enough of the grandkids’ names to know to call my folks.

    2. Luckily, I’ve only lost a child once. But, those few minutes where he was lost were certainly heart-attack inducing. We were at a very crowded park. One minute he was there playing on a slide, and the next he was gone. Luckily, a nice woman (we have lots of those up here in the mid-west don’t we, Jason.) found him and helped him find us. We hadn’t really thought much about telling him what he should/shouldn’t do if (when) he got lost, but you can bet we did after that!

    3. It only happened once to us in astore and we found our son. We took the proactive route of avoiding those situations entirely. My children very rarely went shopping with my wife unless it was very specific.

    4. Thankfully, I’ve not lost one of my children yet…knock on wood. However, I like how you kept the rule for kids simple. It’s important to keep directions in small digestible chucks. It’s easier to follow.

    5. I was that brat that wandered away all of the time. I never was too far for yelling not to work, but I like this advice and “Simple rules for little minds.” is perfect advice in my opinion.

    6. I am a New Yorker and the Etan Patz story just opened up again. Even though they didn’t find anything it was a very very scary time. He would have been the same age as me now.


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