Have you ever lost track of your children? It’s a very awful feeling when you lose track of one of your children. Unfortunately, I’ve experienced it first hand.
The first time was while babysitting my best friend’s daughter while my best friend was working in a department store. Sarah was preschool age at the time and an adventurous and often mischievous child. I showed up at my friends work at quitting time with her daughter and POOF. Sarah disappeared while my friend and I were chatting. And I do mean DISAPPEARED. She was just GONE. I felt horrible. How could I LOSE her?? She was just standing next to me one second before?! My friend and I were both in a panic as we called security and started running all over the store trying to find her. It turned out Sarah decided to play hide n’ seek with us and was found OUTSIDE the store! It was a horrible feeling and I vowed to be much more careful in the future.
Once I had my own kids I learned that being more careful sometimes isn’t enough.
When my daughter was younger she was the kind of child that always stuck close by wherever we went. She never wandered off. She didn’t like strangers and was very shy so we could go anywhere and she’d be glued to us every step of the way. When she was around 4 we were at the mall one evening and stopped by the food court for dinner. I went to one food stand while Jack went to another. I shouted to Jack that he had all the kids and he thought I said I had the kids. The boys ended up sticking with their dad as I walked away so I assumed Melissa would too. When I brought the food back to the table, Melissa was missing. He thought I had her, and I thought he did. We raced around looking for her asking anyone nearby if they had seen her, then we spotted a security guard. We told him what happened and he smiled and said they had her. She had followed another woman in a red shirt with blond hair just like me, and when the woman noticed Melissa following her, she took her to security.
You’d think we’d never ever let this happen again, right? I wish.
We have lost Cody twice since that incident. The first time was right after we bought our first house. He was only two and walked right out of the house and wandered two full blocks away early on a summer morning. The second time was … you guessed it, at the mall.
This has actually been tough for me to write. Looking back at these awful memories it’s hard not to beat myself up. How could anyone lose children FOUR times in their life time? I’m not neglectful and I keep a close eye on my kids, *especially* in a crowd. I’m the kind of parent that if my boys have to use the restroom in a public place and their older brother or dad isn’t around to escort them, I make them go in the girls bathroom with me (and they hate this, believe me). I’ve always been this way. I don’t let my kids out of my site. But all it takes is a split second and things can go wrong.
When I was offered the opportunity to review self defense products I almost passed. I browsed the website and they have a lot of great products to help keep one safe such as mace and pepper sprays. Even a newsletter you can join that offers various safety tips and product specials. But I’m not really comfortable having mace or anything like that in my house of mischievous children. Then I noticed there’s other cool stuff like pet safety lights, a cell phone flash light and blinkies so I kept browsing. That’s when I came across a product called Child Guard. When I read this:
Nearly every parent has experienced the high anxiety, even if momentarily, of a “missing” child. In the mall, out in the playground, even at home-a child missing for even a few moments is a very frightening event.
…I got teary. Yes, I know this… Boy do I. And it sucks like nothing else I’ve ever experienced in my life. I went back to the list of products we could review and Child Guard was on the list. I
begged and pleaded and got down on my knees jumped all over the opportunity to review Child Guard.
The child guard has two components. One is the Child Sender. This is a cute little animal-shaped “toy” you attach to your child. It comes with a cord so the child can wear it as a necklace or around their wrist. The second component is the Parent Receiver that fits on your key chain. The Child Sender keeps track of how far your children are from you. If your child wanders away from you a certain distance (you can set the distance from 3 feet to 21 feet) the Parent Receiver will beep.
I tested it out today and it works great. Cody is 6 now but you know what? He’s a lot like Sarah: adventurous, mischievous, and independent. Anyone who knows Cody and has read our family site for any length of time knows what I’m talking about. Cody also loves having little gadgets to play with. He never leaves home without a car or lego or something to hold onto or stick in his pocket. So this is perfect! Besides, I’m not taking any chances anymore. I doubt we’ll leave home without this until he gets much older after the experiences we’ve had.
Child guard is not a replacement for using common sense, good judgment, and keeping a close eye on your children. But it will help for those times you can’t be looking 100% of the time. It is impossible to take your children anywhere and be watching them every single second of every minute. When you are paying for groceries you aren’t looking at your kids while you write a check, dig for cash, or swipe your debit card. When you’re out shopping you’re looking at labels, clothing sizes, comparing products, etc. You’re chatting with your spouse, your friends, salespeople. And when you have multiple children, one might grab your attention while the other wanders off. There are tons of opportunities for little ones to run off and as you can see from my examples, it doesn’t take long. It only takes a quick moment. Having something that actually warns you if your child gets too far away would be extremely helpful.
[tags]losing children, keeping an eye on your children[/tags]