By Rob Baquera, Public Information Officer for the Roseville Police Department
December is a busy month with holiday preparations underway and children out of school for winter break. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Ramadan you will likely find yourself out shopping at some point with kids in tow. As hard as you try to keep your children near you, they can get distracted by something they find fascinating and be out of sight in no time. Here are some tips to help prepare for these outings:
-Take a picture of your child the day of the outing. This way you’ll know their clothing, hair style, and an up to date photo should you need it.
-Keep your child occupied. Bring along books and small toys to entertain them while you shop. A bored child is more likely to wander off when you’re distracted.
-Be sure your child has your cell phone number. If your child is too young to memorize it, write the digits on a piece of paper and put it in their pocket, or write your number on their arm. This way, anyone who finds them will be able to contact you right away.
-Ensure your child knows their full name and your full name.
-Make sure your child knows what to do if they lose you. Tell them to go back to the last place they remember seeing you and to call your name. If they can’t find you, they should alert a store employee.
-When you go to a busy place, ask your child “who works here?” Then help them identify employees or store security guards. Make sure they can tell you how they know that the person works here (radio on their belt, wearing a particular shirt, or a store nametag) so that they can figure it out without you.
Remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Doing a little preparation can help prevent a larger incident from occurring, and make shopping a fun experience.