UBC – Day 13
There’s nothing scarier for a parent or grandparent than to experience a missing child.
My grandchildren have grown up now, but some years ago, I experienced the trauma of a lost child. “A” was about 4 years old and I took her from Brisbane to Adelaide, via plane, with permission from her parents, to see my ageing parents. We spent nearly a week there. One day we visited the Adelaide Zoo. It was a Sunday and quite a busy day, and I had to manage my elderly parents and a child. How quickly do they disappear? “A” was gone in a flash. None of us saw her leave us.
We were frantic and ran around the zoo looking for her. She had, as it turned out, she had gone back to see the orangutans, where we had been previously. She had not gone far, but it took us seemingly ages to find her. It certainly freaked me and my parents out.
The Golden Rule
After that, whenever I had my grandchildren with me, I took photos of them, with my phone. I reasoned that if they got lost, I could show the police exactly what they looked like and what they were wearing. Luckily the images were never needed.
Determined to not have another missing child, on another occasion, much later, I took my only grandson to Adelaide to see his great grandparents. This time I was well prepared. He was a little older. I had a label on a lanyard around his neck, with his name and my contact details and in smaller print, his parent’s contact numbers too. I created “the golden rule”. It was “hold my hand and don’t get lost”, which causes some amusement.
Back at the zoo, this time with my sister and I in charge of him, we were at the giraffe exhibit and I moved away from the pair so that I could take a photo. Little Mr “G” was angry. “Dee Dee” he called to me. “Remember the golden rule!” We had to laugh, so back again I held his hand after I had taken the photo.
I was reminded of these experiences this morning, as a tale was reported on television of a 9-year-old boy was separated from his mother. He entered a train carriage, and the door closed behind him, leaving his distraught mother on the station. He knew his mother’s mobile number and when a teenage boy on the train offered to help, he phoned his mother and they were soon safely reunited.
So some Tips from Dee Dee.
- Always take a photo of the child/children when you go out. Just a quick snap on your phone so that you can easily explain what they look like if they go missing.
- Teach the children your mobile phone number.
- Give them instructions each time you go out into a crowd.
- If they carry a bag or have a pocket, you could put your contact details on a small card (back of a business card) and explain to the child what it is.
- Remember the “golden rule”.
- Try to keep them close to you – holding hands is good!
- Try not to panic if things go wrong.