The panic I felt when Jack got lost at Disneyland was quite possibly the worst I’d ever felt.
It’s something I’d never wish on another parent. Especially because I knew I could have prevented it a little bit better.
One of the best parts of having a blog is being able to share my mistakes with others, so they don’t have to make them. Makes me a little vulnerable and open to criticism…but I figure that if it helps just one other parent, well, it’s worth the risk.
Here are a few things I wish I had done or known before my son got lost:
I wish I had talked to him about getting lost
How simple would this have been – but I failed to do it. For some reason, it just never dawned on me that he would get lost.
Here’s the thing – so many kids wander off. They are fast. And as nice as it would be to be able to keep our eyes on our kids for every second of every day…it just doesn’t always go that way.
Since Jack got lost, I’ve heard many stories from others when their own child got lost. Two of my sisters have had their kids get lost, and it happened to my own mother as well.
I should never have assumed.
Since then, we’ve talked a lot about what to do when you get lost. So, if you are reading this and realizing you haven’t discussed the possibility with your child, here are a few suggestions:
- Stop where you are – Jack told me that when he couldn’t see me, he started walking around trying to find me…which I’m sure made sense in his mind.
- When you get to a new place, if there are people that work there, point out what they look like to your child. For instance, at Disneyland, you can pretty easily spot their workers. Make sure your child knows who these people are.
- Tell your child that they can start yelling mom or dad
- Look for a mom with kids – while this isn’t 100% full proof, I think it’s one of the safer options.
- Teach them your phone number or at least write it on their arm
I wish I had made sure Jack was assigned an adult
Part of the problem was that I had just assumed someone had Jack. We had several adults with us at the time, and while I tried to navigate everyone, I assumed someone else had their eye on him.
The problem is, when you assume this, others may be assuming the same thing.
From that point on, I realized that I always need to make sure someone was specifically assigned to keep an eye on Jack if I wasn’t available.
I wish I had bought MyKid Pod
I was silly and had no identification at all on Jack. None. There are bracelets you can buy where you write your phone number, which I wish I had done. However, I recently learned about MyKid Pod, and if we had it at the time, we would have avoided the situation altogether.
What is it? Well, it’s a watch that your put on your child that alerts you when they get outside a certain radius. It’s run by Bluetooth. Bluetooth is notorious for having a short range, so as the company described it, they used what most people find to be a downfall of Bluetooth to create something positive.
You just download the app, turn on the watch, and you can set the distance range for how far out your child can go. If your child goes outside of that range, you will get an alert that pops up on your phone. Some might call it a virtual leash (and you can avoid using an actual child leash!)
When Jack got lost, I was looking at the Disneyland map on my phone. Had we been using this, it would have popped up right away. I would have known immediately that he was gone.
It also sounds off an alarm on the watch, which, if your child is older, can make them realize that they may have wandered. It also has a feature where a child can press a button that will send an alert to the parent’s phone, but won’t set off their alarm, which could be helpful if a child felt in danger.
Obviously, the best thing you can do is to make sure you are being careful and watching your child. MyKid Pod should definitely not be used as a babysitter. However, it’s nice to have something like this as a safety net…just in case. You can even write your phone number on it with a sharpie for added protection!
You can get a 15% off MyKid Pod coupon code for the next 15 days using the code Clark15. I’m not sure if we’ll be able to offer a discount again after that, so make sure you grab it not. It’s $39.95 (free shipping) before the discount. I truly wish that I’d had something like this then.