"Summertime and the living is easy." That is unless watching your children during summer has become a full-time job. We all do our best to keep our children happy and safe always, and especially during the summer. But, we all also know that it can take two seconds of averted eyes to lose a child forever. Another thing we all know is as parents, reading that line made your heart sink and your eyes water in fear. Nobody wants such a thing, and we do not want it for you as well.
Summertime events and festivals are all over Austin this summer. We have compiled a list of some lesser known ideas for safety.
Children In Public
When bringing your child to a significant event, with the large volume of people in such a small area, losing a child can happen in the blink of an eye. No matter how hard you try or what you do, unless you chain your child to yourself, it is going to happen. You can lose a child by digging for your wallet to get them a drink. It happens, it is not your fault. Yet, there are steps we can take to keep your child safe.
The first thing to do is find a meeting place. You will want to find a spot that is easy to see from a distance to meet your child at if lost. When this writer was a child we went to Disneyland every year, I was told to go to Disneyland Castle if lost. I was also told no matter where they were the first thing to do was to locate one of the Disney characters. I did get lost once with my aunt, I ran to Disney Castle, and my aunt was there a minute later to save me. It works. Landmarks and certain people such as security are easy to locate for small children. It is helpful to take advantage of what they do know.
Write their name and phone number on their wrist, along with a phone number. Next cover it with liquid band-aid so it will not wash off. This way, even a fearful child may get the phone number wrong under stress. Having a number written on the child eliminates the problem of forgetfulness.
Hiring A Sitter
An alternative to safety at an event this summer is to hire a babysitter. These are not the days of old where finding referral is needed for a sitter, and often someone you did not know. Today, there are apps available with proof of certifications, references; you name it. They are even location specific so that you can search for not Austin, but by zip code and distance if you choose.
Make sure your sitter is well trained in first aid, CPR and emergency protocols.
Make sure you have a stocked emergency kit, go through it with the sitter, locks, first aid, flashlights, etc.
Finally, remember everyone's safety is essential. Make sure your sitter has a safe system of transportation to and from your home as well. Security is for everyone. Offer a ride or Uber home if necessary.
Stranger Danger is another thought that comes to mind when it comes to keeping children safe. Recently there has been more talk about rethinking stranger danger. What is now taught is WHICH STRANGERS are a danger.
The key to keeping children safe is to teach and point out to your children which strangers are safe. Law enforcement officers and other parents are safe. Adults alone are not. If you are at a mall, make a game with your child where they locate the employees. Teach your child that if they get lost, to find the right stranger. A store employee or authority figure is better than avoiding all strangers.
We hope you will remember these tips for keeping your child happy, healthy and safe this summer. While adventuring with your child in the local Austin area or even outside of Texas, these tips will be of help.