What if you lose your child in a crowd?

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Last summer I was taking my 4-year-old son to Sesame Place for the day, which is a large children’s park in Pennsylvania.    It’s a large park with all sorts of characters as well as both wet and dry attractions.  Since he was only 4, he was easily distracted and I worried that he would either run off or get swept up in a crowd and bingo we’d be separated.  

We’d spent countless times repeating what to do if he was lost of separated. “Find a police person, security guard, or someone who had the park uniform on.”  After hearing countless news stories of pedophiles grabbing children I made sure to say “don’t leave the park with anyone.  IF another adult takes you and tries to leave the park – scream that they are stealing you and call for police”.  Did I think he’d really remember to do any of this – NO way.  I love my son, and believe he’s pretty smart but hey he’s only 4!   He did not yet know his address and phone number very well, didn’t know my cell number, and would probably panic.  Once panic set in I was assured he’d be crying and every word out of his mouth would be unrecognizable.  Thus my big dilemma.  I wanted us to enjoy the day and I didn’t want to be too neurotic the whole time!

My solution was simple.  I grabbed a medium point permanent marker and wrote my cell phone number prominently on his arm and told him it was a special tattoo for our special day.  He loved it!  IF he did get separated, all he had to do was point to his tattoo and it would be recognized easily as a phone number.  Even if he didn’t remember it was pretty noticeable that safety staff would be able to figure it out.

Even after a dozen or so water rides, it still was legible.  Often when standing on lines he’d show it off to other parents and kids.  All the kids thought it was cool, and the parents all loved the idea.  To remove the marker we used a bit of extra scrubbing with soap, and the rest wore off in a day or so.  My son was sad to see his special tattoo disappear.  Another way to remove it would be to carefully use a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol.  We now do this any time we go anywhere there may be a big crowd.

Best of all it was a free way to give me peace of mind AND let me enjoy the day.  Give it a try!

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