How to Teach Children What to Do if They Get Lost: 4 Steps
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Make a plan before leaving home to ensure everyone returns home together.

It happens everyday — children getting lost in public places. In most cases, a child has followed the wrong pair of legs, is getting a drink at the water fountain around the corner or is hiding in the clothes rack waiting for you to walk by to jump out and surprise you. The child and parent are usually back together in seconds. But, children do get lost from their parents for longer periods and greater distances, and this often creates panic. To reduce the panic that sets in, be prepared with a game plan that the whole family knows.


  1. 1
    Decide on a meeting place upon entering the area. Try to make it near the front of the area, and not by the doorway or exit. Tell your child to never return to the parking area. There are too many strangers in cars close enough to quickly nab a lost child.
  2. 2
    Tell the child to ask an employee to help her if she becomes separated from her family. Most businesses have a plan in place to help lost children. If she can't find an employee, she should approach a woman. Statistics tell us that most predators are not female. Most women will stop what they are doing to help a lost child. You may want to tell your child to find a mommy to ask for help.
  3. 3
    Help children memorize the cell phone numbers of family members. The area code should be part of the number they have memorized. If the child is having a hard time memorizing the number, slip the number on a small piece of paper into her shoe before leaving home or place it somewhere she has easy access to if she gets lost.
  4. 4
    Teach the child how to call 911. The operator will ask her for her name. Make sure the child knows her first and last names. If she is called by a nickname by the family, makes sure she knows her birth name, also.


  • Tell children to stand on a picnic table or bench to be seen in a crowd.Put children in brightly colored shirts when going to a busy park or concert.In the woods, give the child a whistle.Take a picture on a phone upon entering the public place. A current picture is valuable if the child becomes lost from his family.Walkie Talkies keep everyone in range at public places, like ski parks.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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