Lost son in mall--very scary! - FamilyEducation
Lost son in mall--very scary!
11/28/2009 at 15:03 PM

Has anyone ever lost their child while shopping? I never thought it wld happen to me, but it did! One minute my son was right beside me, and the next minute he was gone!
It was a busy Saturday at the mall, and my boys and I were browsing around. Somehow my youngest son got lost in the shuffle. I wasn't holding my kids' hands (BIG mistake) b/c they wanted to walk by themselves, and they promised to stay next to me. Thank God, after about 15 minutes of me panicing, a shopper found my son crying and turned him over to security. After this experience, I'm afraid to shop alone w/ my kids again. This was a true eye opener for me, and I'm hoping my kids learned from this experience as well. I've beaten myself up about the incident ever since it happened, but I know I can't keep doing that. I want to be able to take my kids out in public places without worrying about them. They're good kids, but they don't always follow the rules, despite my many efforts. Still, I believe that kids learn from exposure to different places and things. I don't want to shelter them. Any advice on overcoming this fear to avoid becoming over-protective paranoid mom? Now I understand why some parents leash their kids, something I always swore I wld never do, but I have to admit, the thought did cross my mind.

So sorry you had to go through such a scary experience. Do not beat yourself up about what happened! Be proactive and seriously consider a tether. We used a tether for my daughter from the time she realized she could run away from us. We never actually lost her, but had a few scary times, once she ran and fell into a pool, and taking off into crowds or near busy streets. We got lots of comments about her being on a "leash" but ignored them or replied we were doing what we had to for her to be safe. There are lots of very nice tethers on the market today. A company called tommiguard has tethers that are suitable for older children.

My son was a *runner* also, and I invested in both a tether for his wrist.....and a shirt that simply said "too precious to lose". I had the shirt printed after being onthe receiving end of several nasty comments from ignorant people.

Also, realize that your child returned safely to you. Yes, it was terrifying for you, and for him, but most of the time lost children are found quickly. I tell my kids, (and neighbor kids, and daycare kids when I had them) that it is their job to keep track of me when we are out. Of course, I still am vigilant, but it is a good idea to give them some of the responsibility.

Thank you to all who replied to my post. I appreciate your comments and suggestions. I think the t-shirt idea is great! Also, acitez, I realize my kids need to take some responsibility for their actions. Thx for making me feel like I'm not totally to blame. Since the incident, I haven't been to any stores w/ my children, but I have taken them to various places (like school, the park, out for walks...). I've noticed my youngest son (the one who got lost) has been a lot more clingy w/ me, wanting to hold my hand and so forth. I think he really got scared and learned from the experience. My oldest son is a bit better behaved when reminded, but still he's a "runner" as one poster put it. In a way it's good that the incident happened, but then again, I wld never want it to happen again. Thx for all your support!

I also had a similar experience with my daughter and swore i'd never "leash" my kids and haven't- but my sister in law does.. and i don't know I just feel like it's not a right thing to do

I feel the same way, but if you think of how it can save you from a frightening situation, maybe it's worth it (despite the ignorant looks and comments you may get). Some kids, like mine, are just impulsive no matter what you do to try and curb the behavior.

I haven`t lost my kids yet, but when i was about 3 my parents lost me in a park for almost 2 hours. that was quite a scary situation, and i don`t want this to happend to my kids.

I don't know how many parents would admit it but its not uncommon. Two of my three kids have been lost temporarily in a shopping centre. And yes, it is a horrible experience but if it's a good neighbourhood, the risk of danger is low. We actually changed our shopping habits and went to a centre which spiralled around so with 2 parents, you could go either way and track the child down. Losing children near traffic or in city streets would be a lot worse.