Know Phone Numbers
One of the most important tips law enforcement officers try to impart on parents is to teach children parents’ phone numbers. “It sounds simple, but parents are often surprised by how early children can begin to understand and recall the number,” he says. “Likewise take them through how to dial the other parent—or a trusted relative—using one parent’s phone.”
Wear Bright Colors
At large venues like amusement parks, Paul recommends dressing your children in brightly colored clothes that are easy to identify and locate in a crowd. He even says to dress all the kids in a matching color, but avoid matching shirts with their names. “Predators will capitalize on knowing a child’s name to build trust,” he says. “Consider dressing the entire family similarly, it can be fun and can easily identify who belongs with who.”
You can find companies that sell products with unique designs that can help reunite lost children with their guardians. “You can buy identification bracelets with several cell phone numbers on them and even place contact information on clothing,” suggests Paul. “Temporary tattoos are also available for this purpose, and can be fun for children. For those who are more likely to remove a bracelet, consider a luggage tag affixed to the shoe laces that contains important contact information.”
The tried and true Stranger Danger should be revisited with your kids as often as you can. “With young ones, a quick refresher on Stranger Danger is a good idea just before traveling,” he says. “Teach your young ones to seek out uniformed police officers, or a mother with other children during times of trouble.”
Beware of Stroller Creepers
If you’re traveling with toddlers, Paul has one last tip to guard your valuables. “Watch out for stroller creepers. These thieves are always on the prowl for purses, handbags, and other valuables that are left with strollers parked while you enjoy an attraction or a meal,” he explains. “Take the most valuable items with you, leaving behind only items that are not as attractive or that you can do without inside the stroller.”
Next time you pack up the family for a vacation or even a trip to a local amusement park or zoo, keep this New York City Police Officer’s five tips in mind.
Do you have other suggestions for keeping your kids safe while traveling? Please share in the comments below!