Do This If You Lose Your Child in Public

Do This If You Lose Your Child in Public
Photo: Jozef Sowa, Shutterstock

Every parent has been there (and if you haven’t yet, give it time): Your focus shifts for just a moment. You’re at the store, trying to pick out the right birthday card for your sister. Or you’re digging money out of your wallet to pay for the corn dog at the fair. Your back is only turned for literal seconds, but then you swivel back around and…wait, where did they go? Your kid was just there a moment ago, and now they’re gone.

Panic sets instantaneously, but we often keep that panic to ourselves, at least initially. We’re trying not to freak out, because surely they couldn’t have gotten far in mere seconds — and yet kids do have a way of wandering pretty far in the time it takes to grab the ketchup and napkins from the counter. But, as one mum advises on TikTok (and which I found via PopSugar Family), when you lose your child in a store or in a crowd, you should get loud about it right away — by yelling out a description of the child you are looking for.

As Jess Martini explains:

There Are Some Good Parenting Hacks on TikTok, Actually

I’m not generally a fan of TikTok — it’s the place teenagers go to take part in stupid, dangerous shit like the “Skull Breaker Challenge” or the “Benadryl Challenge.” It’s also the place where actual parents have gone to mock people with disabilities or genetic diseases. But I have discovered...

Read more

That loud searching, she says, sounds like this: “I’m looking for a boy, age five, short brown hair, brown eyes, caucasian, red Nike T-shirt, black shorts!” And keep repeating this basic physical description over and over until they are found.

This is better than silently combing your way through the crowd, but it’s also better than simply yelling out the child’s name. If you call out the child’s name, the adults around you will realise you’re looking for a kid, but if you yell out their description, those same adults will automatically start looking for them, too.

In most cases, they simply wandered off and someone will spot them and alert you pretty quickly; and in the more unlikely event that someone is actually trying to walk away with your child, the commotion, Martini says, is likely to cause them to let go and take off.

And, as she kindly reminds us, this happens to even the best of parents. So even if you feel (or look) a little silly doing this, it’s a small price to pay for finding your child quickly, and the people around you will be happy to help.

Log in to comment on this story!