Soraya Sutherlin, a certified emergency manager with more than 13 years of experience helping whole communities better prepare for emergencies, has advised parents that teaching their young children two important lessons will help them in the event they go missing, and could reunite their family much faster.
1. Teach your kids to find nearby landmarks
"Situational awareness is a lifelong skill that you can start to teach them as babies in a stroller," says Sutherlin.
When going on family strolls or walks, point out any memorable trees, signs, and the locations of landmarks like schools, shops and statues. According to Sutherland, this encourages children to make an effort to look "up and around", thereby also encouraging communication and decreasing the likelihood that the children may ever be lost.
"If your child ever got separated from you and are too young to know their street address, they could say, 'I live four blocks from a fire station,' or, 'I live two blocks away from a big, blue house with a red flag.'" she says. "Those can be indicators to help reunite you with your child."
2. Teach your kids to find a parent
Much like landmarks, Sutherland encourages parents to teach their children how to identify helpers and trusted members of the community.
Instead of advising children never to speak to strangers, parents can help their children identify help by teaching them to "find a mommy with children" or to spot a nearby stroller.
"Absolutely, I always say, 'Find a mommy or a group of mommies with children,'" she said. "There's deviations to that based on what's happening in the world, but in general it's a good rule of thumb."
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