Letters to Editor

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Imagine this:

You and your 3-year-old daughter are at a shopping centre; you pay the cashier and collect your purchase. You look down for your little girl and she is gone.

At first you casually call her name, but there is no reply.

You think that she may be playing a game of hide and seek and you look around the service counter. Sheís not there.

Your call is louder and your voice has a tone of alarm in it. No response.

Frantic now, you start to think about the possibilities. You scan as you run. There is still no sign of your precious girl. 

Itís been only 3 minutes and youíve imagined the worst. An abduction. What do I do?

Your mind is racing. You try to rationalise. Iíll ask for help. But who?

You approach the cashier at the service counter but she is annoyed at your interruption while dealing with another client. She tells you to wait your turn.

You see a red jumper bopping up and down in one of the mechanical toys on the far end of the shopping centre.

You run and with absolute relief you recognise your little girl. You seize her, wanting to hug her and cry at the same time.

Your situation had a happy ending. You were lucky.

More and more busy crowds are becoming an unavoidable part of our lives. Itís no wonder. We have more shopping centres, more events and more people than ever before.

Crowds are very much part of Asian culture, but this growing trend of crowds in the Western world is a relatively new phenomenon. Businesses like Event Management, Crowd control and security etc. are booming. Authorities who control these events understand that proactive action is necessary to optimise success and minimise disaster.

What are we as parents or caregivers doing to safeguard our families in this environment of ever-growing crowds?

Children getting lost in crowds are a common occurrence. However ask any parent who has lost a child, even if it was just for a few minutes, and they can recall their horror in detail as though it happened yesterday.

Itís important that we teach children preventative strategies for getting lost and also defensive strategies should they find themselves separated from their parents or care givers. Do this by putting together a plan that your whole family is sufficiently familiar with. Here are some guidelines.

Getting Your Plan Together:

Children do not always follow your instructions, but forewarned is forearmed.

Some Interesting Australian Statistics

I hope the experience of losing a child never happens to you.

Natalie Fourie

 

There is help out thereÖ

www.missingpersons.gov.au

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