My mom and I took S for a walk today and as we were on our way home, passing our local tube station (I’m back in London btw), we saw a mom with her son and husband running up and down the street screaming Sammy, Sammy. We stopped in our tracks and quickly realised that she was looking for her second son. It was only 5pm but it was dark and we were on a very busy main road. I was looking around trying to figure out how I could help when my mom heard a little boys voice on the other side of the road. The boy started running across the street and luckily a lady nearby got to him. In the meantime the mom couldn’t do a thing because the traffic lights had changed and cars were speeding along blocking her way. The whole thing lasted only 30 seconds but the fear that built up in both mine and my moms hearts was overwhelming. It took me a few minutes to breathe normally again and my mom shed a tear (maybe because my brother is called Sammy and so it was all very close to home for her).
I simply cannot imagine what that child’s mom went through in that brief time. She couldn’t let go of her other sons hand as she searched for her son Sammy, she couldn’t see very far because it was so dark, it was a huge junction with cars coming very fast and he could have been anywhere. It appeared that he lost them somewhere in the tube station and ended up coming out of a different exit (on the other side of this busy road). I’m sure she’s still in shock and just thanking God for keeping her son safe and sound.
Unfortunately, this sort of thing is common occurrence. Young children have such an innate sense of curiosity, it is so easy for them to wander off looking at something and for parents to assume their child is following them. Especially with Christmas coming up and roads, malls and tubes being even busier than usual. So I did some research and here are a few tips to ensure your child is kept safe should the unthinkable happen:
1. Make sure they know your first and last name as well as your telephone number.
2. If you’re travelling with your child, always discuss an emergency plan with them so they know what they need to do.
3. Teach your child to recognise a person of authority. It could be a policeman/woman, a conductor at a train station, a flight attendant or a security guard at a mall or in a shop.
4. When headed to a crowded place, always point out the concierge or information desk to your child and tell them to go there and make an announcement should they get lost.
5. If you have more than one child to keep an eye on, get them to hold hands or hold each of their hands. When in a public place make constant conversation so their attention is on you and no where else.
I thank God that this mom had a happy ending, it certainly made me hug my little boy tighter when we got home.