When you’re out and about as a parent, you end up with all kinds of stuff. When they’re babies you haul around a massive changing bag with 19 changes of clothes 43 nappies, 2 muslin squares and a stale biscotti. Then they get a bit older and it’s snacks, snacks and more snacks paired with carrying a travel potty and 19 changes of clothes. One advantage of the hefty baggage is that they are usually well contained in a pram or on reins to keep them close to you.
When you get past those two phases you are free and breezy, right? No more luggage to weigh you down and they’re walking next to you – hopefully willingly. Yes, they don’t need a pair of pants every hour, but they are live-wires by this point. It takes a split second for them to run off – a moment of distraction from you and they can have pegged it to the nearest exit.
This is my worst fear, and although I’m joking that it’s easier to have an “independent” child over one that needs a small suitcase of paraphernalia, I would swap that in a heartbeat to keep Isabelle by my side. It’s been something on my mind recently as we are increasingly ditching the pushchair in favour of going on foot. About a year ago something awful happened whilst I was out in town.
“It was the height of Christmas shopping and the place was heaving, we were walking around the town square and heard an ear piercing scream.”
Everyone stopped and it went silent – honestly one of the only times in my life something like that happened. We then heard a woman screaming a name again and again. It turned out her little one had run off into the crowds and she couldn’t find him (I think it was a him).
Luckily as people do, everyone stopped and started looking for this child. About 30 seconds later we heard someone shout “I’ve found him” – he was at least 50-100 feet down the road. The moment the mum was reunited with him actually made me well up. Partly because I couldn’t stand the thought of that happening with Isabelle.
“I was thinking what on earth I would do to stop this happening to us.”
Other than shackling her to my ankle it’s really hard to prevent. We try to teach her to stay close, but kids are flighty and you just can’t rule it out. There are products available, but they can be expensive and not necessarily reliable. Recently Lancaster Printing was brought to my attention. They make the wristbands you get at an event (like at a club or theme park) that are paper but need to be cut off. I found that you can order custom printed tyvek wristbands with pretty much any text and colour – such as with your phone number or any medical conditions or allergies. They are cheap and would mean that if you went on a day out they’re guaranteed not to fall off and can be used as and when needed.
Even just knowing that God forbid, I did lose Isabelle, whoever found her could call me straight away to let me know she’s safe. It would never replace having her by my side but it would make me feel just a little better that should it happen we have a proper plan in place, for the maximum price of 35p per wristband.
I really, really hope we’re never in this position but I’m sure, at some point, she will make a break for freedom. Do you have any tips for keeping your children safe when out and about?
*This is a collaborative post
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