Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wishing Kids Came with Computer Chips

Oh how I wish our children could have GPS or some type of computer chip implanted for us to know their whereabouts at all times.

I know that this is unrealistic, but boy there have been times I have wished for this "super" technology to be available.

Well, it appears, according to my tech expert husband, it just so happens that there are some technologies on the market, external devices with receivers, that are designed to help track down someone wearing a product. Not sure if these products can specifically pinpoint exact locations of where a person is but they do help to provide a direction in which they are.

This seems like an invasion of privacy. However, there is a part of me that is contemplating it. At least, may be considering it. It seems like this could be a great benefit for young children, especially those eager to roam and explore when at big crowded events.

The reason I bring this up is that today, Sarah, Daniel and I went to an annual fair in town, which last year boasted attendance by as many as 50,000 people. We had a super great time eating treats, enjoying the rides, spending time with family and staying cool from the heat. However, it was busy. It was crowded.

In a moment when Daniel stepped away to get some cooling beverages, with Sarah sometimes holding my hand and other times trying to pull away, a rush of something went through me.

It wasn't so much that I was in a panic but more that I had fear and concern should Sarah step away and get lost in this crowd, that it would be easy to lose sight of her with this many people, and; therefore, be tough to find her.

And, with Sarah being the age she is, she likely would not remember her phone number despite trying to spend time with her practicing it to memory.

In that moment, I quickly rummaged through my bag and pulled out a pen to write under the brim of her baseball hat my cell number and Daniel's too.

Heaven forbid Sarah were to get lost, someone would hopefully discover our contact information and track us down.

I was actually contemplating writing my phone number on her shirt but didn't as it was filled with flowers and very busy and likely something to be missed. However, the next time we are at an event of this nature I will be more prepared. I intend to have us all in the same color, a bright one, for starters. This is a suggestion I have heard that some parents and families do. Then, I fully intend to add a sticker to her back with her contact information G-d forbid she were to run astray, get lost, etc.

I have thought many times in my head how I would try to explain things such as not going into any one's house (e.g., unlike Goldilocks in the story with the three bears) without mommy or daddy, or never to go into another person's car (e.g., as Curious George has likely done a number of times) without scaring Sarah, at least not too much.

I have a few children's books on learning about strangers, and have tried to read them to Sarah. They are rather upsetting considering what we are trying to do to prevent her from being harmed in any way.

When is the right age to communicate this type of information to our kids to ready them, without scaring them, at least not too much? It's important to help our children understand that unfortunately there are "not so nice" people in our world who take children, want to hurt them and not return them.

This blog post is somewhat disturbing. However, the harsh reality is that there are scary people out there who commit crimes on children and we have to be prepared, and inform our children, as best as possible on the measures to stay and be protected.

There has been on occasion when at a grocery store or new place with Sarah that she wants to explore and disappears from my sight even for a second and my body goes hot, my heart beats incredibly fast and I feel like I am going to lose my breath.

I have been giving Sarah choices for her safety when we are out of the house. When we are in a store, for example, and it's just her and me, I offer for her to either hold my hand and not let go, sit in the stroller or sit in the cart, if one is available. Many times she starts with holding my hand and then when she doesn't want to do that any more tells me and she will sit in the cart or stroller.

As parents, we have a major responsibility to protect our children. And, it's a tough job. So, if we are really tired or unable to keep our children within our sight, it's important that we establish measures instead of letting our children roam free. Determine your plan of action before you go somewhere with your child, especially if they are incredibly active, curious and known to roam. If you know that hand holding is the only option consider a cart at the store or even the knapsack straps or leashes. While I have a hard time with the "leash" concept, I totally get it and have even in the past considered it because I would rather have people stare at me in disgust than to lose my precious Sarah.

Make sure you have a back up plan if hand holding is not an option, especially if you have an active child that loves to move fast, check things out and move out of your line of sight. Bring the stroller, pop them into a cart, or bring your partner, relative or friend to help out.

We have to do what we can to keep our children safe and to keep us sane. Raising children is hard enough work. This is one of those things that raises the hair on our necks, increases our heart rate exponentially and scares us beyond belief.

Chart your plan of action for your next out of the house jaunt or trip.

Let's continue to keep our kids safe.

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