If You Lose Sight Of Your Kid In A Public Place, Take This Mom's Advice

by Tanay Howard
Originally Published: 
Scary Mommy and Koh Sze Kiat/Getty

As if having children in and of itself isn’t absolutely terrifying, nothing makes your heart race more than the fear of losing that child in public. If you place yourself into the “it will never happen to me” category, let me be the first to tell you as a mom of multiple small children, it happens in the blink of an eye.

Enter TikTok.

A mom on the social media platform shared this genius hack about finding your lost kid in a public place:

The first (and thank God only) time I lost my child in a public place he was three years old. We were on our first family vacation out of state and I was pushing his brother in the stroller through Disney Springs when my three-year-old spotted a dinosaur. Before I knew it his little legs were running, and he was gone. The next few minutes felt like an eternity, though I’m sure it couldn’t have been more than a minute or two. I was running around frantically searching for my three-year-old, trying to navigate a stroller and praying to the high heavens he didn’t run into the wrong person. In the moment I told no one because it wasn’t on my mind.

This TikTok could’ve literally changed the game for me. The mom states “What you want to do is you want to start loudly looking for them. Do not silently look for them.” Hello, did I mention that I told no one as I damn near broke down in the T-Rex Cafe?

She then goes on to say, “You start shouting their description while you look. I’m looking for a boy, age five, red shirt, short brown hair, brown eyes, Caucasian, red Nike t-shirt, black shorts. And you’re going to keep repeating yourself as you are looking.” The repetition of the description does two things, it puts others around you on alert to look for the child and it draws attention so that if anyone was attempting to walk away with them they commotion makes it more likely for them to let your child go.


I’ve since had two more children, and the idea of going out in public with all of them NEVER feels any less daunting. I am of the mindset of whatever it takes so I am not ashamed at all to take precautionary measures to make sure no one runs off. But trust when I say that I have considered everything from those little leash backpacks (because my kids are runners) to AirTags and everything in between. Aside from this TikTok “hack”, here are a couple of additional ideas to ensure child safety when out in public.

  • Secure the child. Seems like a no brainer, but if you have a kid that tends to run/wander, you want to make sure said child is secure. Whether you do so with a stroller or something else is up to you.
  • If you have multiple children, dress them alike/similarly in public. Giving a description of what your child is wearing in the heat of the moment will be SO MUCH easier to remember.
  • Write your phone number on your child’s arm with a marker before heading into a crowded place.
  • Once your child is old enough to understand, have repeated conversations with them about what to do if you’re separated in public. This includes behaviors such as who to approach for help (an employee, another mom with children), what information to provide them with and what are acceptable actions to take to find you (like… never getting in anyone’s car to search for you).

At the end of the day, sh*t happens, and even the best of parents have bad days. Knowing how to handle the bad days are our saving grace. And tips like these just may help us get results instead of totally losing our cool.

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