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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tips for child safety while visiting theme or amusement parks by Charisse Van Horn

Tips for child safety while visiting theme or amusement parks by Charisse Van Horn

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As summer comes to a close and school is about to start many families are engaging in last minute vacations and spending times at theme or amusement parks.  As the Amber Alerts Examiner for and owner of the Amber Alerts and Missing Children Cases blog, there are several tips that I have that hopefully will help parents and child caregivers keep safety first when out with children.  It is imperative that those responsible for children take the time needed to speak to their children about their safety as well as take any steps needed to reinforce information and ensure that children know what to do if an emergency situation should arise.  Here are child safety tips for theme or amusement parks.

Familiarize yourself with the amusement or theme park which you will be visiting and understand their rules and guidelines regarding lost children.  Children should have a clear understanding of what to do should they find themselves separated from their parents or caregivers or become lost while visiting a park.    Ensure that your children can clearly identify those who work at the amusement park as well as uniformed police officers.  It is recommended that children who are lost look for someone who works at the park as they will be able to assist them, however, avoid those in costumed characters and teach children to look for those with clearly defined name tags or security guards.

Determine beforehand where the help or information center is for the park.  Mark these areas on the theme park map so that if a child becomes lost, he or she can find the closest help center.  You may also choose a help center as a designated meeting spot so if you become separated you can meet up at the same location.  Make certain that children do not wear labels, tee-shirts or other clothing that displays their names.  Avoid writing children’s names on back packs and other accessories as well.

Make certain that your children attend theme or amusement parks while in the accompaniment of a trusted, responsible adult.  Ensure that you know who your child is spending time with and pay careful consideration before letting children move around parks unattended. 

One of the most important lessons that every parent or child care giver can teach a child is to verbalize if someone tries to grab or abduct them.  Sadly, too many children were overcome by fear and walked away with a perpetrator without ever calling out for help or letting someone know they were in trouble.  Children should practice yelling in order to make them feel more comfortable with the reality that should someone try to abduct them, it is okay to yell on the top of their lungs for help.  Have your child practice by screaming, “Help, this person is a stranger and trying to take me,” or something similar to that effect.  Your child may feel uncomfortable at first, but it is the best way to prepare your child to use his or her voice should an abductor try to kidnap him or her.

The best way to keep children safe is to ensure that you have taken all necessary preventative steps and supervise your children when out.  By keeping these tips in mind, you can rest assured knowing your child will know what to do if he or she becomes lost.

Charisse Van Horn is an experienced freelance writer.  You may follow up on missing children cases at her Amber Alerts Examiner column or on her Facebook group.

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