Safety Tips to Prevent Missing Kids

I remember the first time I actually thought my child went missing. It was during the summer several years ago. We were on vacation at a water park, my son was about two years old. I let go of his hand for a second. That was all it took for him to disappear.

I panicked, already fearing the worst. Those few seconds felt like hours. I began to search frantically all around me when I saw him being carried off by a woman. I ran over to her, realized she was wearing a park employee uniform and saw she was carrying him to the park’s information center.

That all happened in just a matter of seconds, but that is all it could take for something to go terribly wrong and for the outcome to have been much worse.

Summer Safety Tips to Prevent Missing Kids

The school year will be over and summer break will be here soon. This means more traveling, family trips and children spending time in crowded areas more frequently. The danger of losing your child can be more of a possibility during this time. Small children can be hard to see in a crowd of people and they tend to run off on their own without a word, making it even more important to take steps to prevent your child from getting lost.

Take 25 Minutes to Talk to Your Child about Safety

One of the most important things you can do to prevent your child from getting lost is to talk to him about being safe. This is also a good way to observe National Missing Children’s Day which is on May 25th. In 2007, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (, launched the Take 25 campaign, asking families, law enforcement, teachers and other trusted adults to take 25 minutes to talk to children about real world and online safety. The campaign helps educate communities about safety risks and ways to better protect the children in our lives. 

Here are some tips we use in our family that can help your child stay safe:


  • Teach your child to learn his name, your names and/or the names of who he is traveling with if you will not be there.  Teach him his phone number and home address.
  • If your child is too young to learn his phone number or cannot articulate it to others, there are ID bands like these safety bands, wristbands  or SafetyTats you can buy for your child to wear. 
  • If your child is old enough, have your child remember what clothes you are wearing. Remember what outfit your child is wearing, too. Consider wearing the same bright colored clothing to easily spot one other in a crowd, and so your child can describe to authorities that you are wearing similar colored clothes if you do get separated.
  • Take a photo of your child before leaving the house so you have the most updated photo of him. This will also make it easier to describe exactly what he is wearing that day.
  • Do not leave your child unattended, hold his hand while he is walking and keep him safely strapped while he is in the stroller to prevent him from jumping out and running off.
  • Keep current photos of your child and update your child’s safety ID kit every six months especially if your child has had something change on his appearance like losing any teeth, getting glasses or getting a completely different haircut. You can download a free copy of the Child ID Kit.  Remember to include unique birthmarks or scars to help describe your child’s identity along with any medical issues.
  • Keep dental and medical records updated.
  • Teach your child to stop walking when you tell him. You can try playing games with him like, “Freeze,” “Statue” and “Red Light/Green Light” to train your child to stop moving when using these words.
  • Use family restrooms as much as possible or stand right in front of the stall while your child is using the restroom.
  • Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Go over with your child all the safety rules before leaving the house and before getting out of the car when you have arrived at your destination, whether it is a quick stop at the store or a long day at a theme park.  If he is old enough, have him repeat to you his full name, your full name, phone number and address every time you go somewhere.
  • Role play with your child so he becomes confident on what to do and say if a stranger tries to talk to him.
Kids get lost most often in malls and stores (45%). - SafetyTat LLC
Kids get lost most often in malls and stores (45%). – SafetyTat LLC

Have a Game Plan

  • If you do get separated, teach your kids to never leave the entrance of the park or store with anybody.
  • If your child is old enough to find his way around, show your child to meet at a designated meeting point, preferably a large, visible landmark and to stay there if you do become separated.
  • Teach your child to not be afraid to yell and scream for help if someone is trying to take him.
  • Remind your child not to talk to strangers but teach your child who he can talk to if he does get lost. Point out the employee’s uniforms and name tags, badges, security guards’ uniforms and show him the information center as you pass by or locate it on the map if he is old enough to read a map.  For smaller children who may not be able to see name tags and badges, teach them to find a mommy with kids to ask for help. 
  • Constantly remind your child never to walk away from you, however, a child may run off if he sees something that interests him.  Keep in mind the places that would interest your child if you do get separated and remember to check those areas.

You can find more child safety tips/lost child statistics here and from the Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse (MEPIC).

What to do if Your Child Does Go Missing

Unfortunately, kids can get lost or go missing during the summer or at any time, no matter how many preventative measures we take as parents. If your child does go missing, notify the security office or store manager, then, immediately call your local law enforcement agency. offers a contact list of resources to direct you to the proper people to talk to if your child goes missing, whether it is here in Jacksonville or elsewhere.

What other tips do you have to prevent your kids from going missing especially during busy times like summer break?

Bernadyn is a Jacksonville native who loves the beach, sun, chocolate, and coffee. She met her husband while she was in college at the University of North Florida. They have two kids (6 and 9). When she became a mom, she began her freelance writing career. She wrote for various publications while writing for her blog, B is 4. Her writing and blog led her to become an influencer, which opened up doors to collaborate with other businesses, such as Ink Link Marketing, US Family Guide, and Vanity Fair. During this time, she discovered her passion for marketing and social media. She recently started a new chapter in her life by returning to school to pursue her graduate degree in English, specializing in Rhetoric and Composition. She also returned to working outside the home. She now works as a copywriter and social media coordinator for a publishing company. In her free time, you can find her spending time outdoors, searching for more chocolate or coffee, and finding new adventures to do with her family. Her greatest lesson she has learned as a mom is that time is precious and that there is always something new to learn from your kids.


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