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Camping First Aid and Safety

Top 7 Tips for Child Safety in Crowded Places

boy looking at map

Our family enjoys adventures. Going to new places- whether it’s craft shows, or a new park, or maybe even a fun experience- we love going places and trying new things. But, with two young kids, those adventures started to become few and far between for one reason: safety in crowded places. Taking children to a new and unfamiliar place is exhausting- especially when you worry that your kids could get separated from you in an instant.

You feel that way too, right? Leaving the house with kids is exhausting enough, but once you add in a day of fun in a crowded place, you end up completely drained.

Learning how to navigate adventures with children is no small feat. These are my top 7 tips and tricks for child safety in crowded places!

Tips for Child Safety in Crowded Places

There are a ton of additional safety tips in the toolkit! Get access to it below.

Use a Stroller

A stroller seems like a no-brainer, but using a stroller does help ensure safety in crowded places.

  1. The child is restrained. They literally cannot escape. Perfect for when you push them into the family bathroom- none of the door opening while mom is on the potty nonsense. Not that I’ve been there or anything…
  2. No one can take your child. If your kid is restrained and you’re pushing the stroller, or it’s sitting next to you, the chances of a creepy creeper abducting your child are much less.
  3. Less whining. Older kids whine when their feet get tired- especially after a long day at a craft show or theme park. So, having a stroller means they can rest and ride and you don’t have to listen to the whining. WIN!

Use a Baby Carrier

If a stroller doesn’t work for where you’re going, consider using a baby carrier. Lots of folks think that carriers are just for babies, but that’s not true! There are carriers for kids up to 50lbs.

  1. You know exactly where your child is.
  2. Strangers will still try to approach your kids when they’re in a carrier. But it’s much easier to move them away from the person or position yourself in a way that blocks their access to the child when they’re in a carrier. People are gross-, especially during cold and flu season!
  3. Children- even older kids- enjoy exploring the world from the vantage a carrier offers. They also feel safe in new and unfamiliar places because they’re so close to someone they know and love; which means fewer meltdowns for you. WIN!
  4. If your infant is breastfeeding, you can breastfeed right in your carrier! So no stopping or finding somewhere to sit and nurse (unless you want to).

Establish Rules

Making rules were hard for us, but teaching our older child safety rules helped my peace of mind. These are the four main rules we use for safety in crowded places:

  1. Walking feet only.
  2. You must hold a grown-up’s hand OR be touching the stroller at all times.
  3. If you hear FREEZE, stop what you’re doing and be completely still. (We practice this at home by playing a freeze and unfreeze game).
  4. If you get separated from your grown-up, stay in one place. We will find you.

We go over these rules A LOT leading up to an adventure and also make sure to explain why the rules are necessary. Kids respond well to guidelines laid out in advance- especially if they know why. 

Learning how to navigate adventures with children is no small feat. These are my top 7 tips and tricks for child safety in crowded places!

Outing Safety

Kids love going on adventures. One of my friends calls their trips ‘missions’ which sounds even cooler. I might start doing that. These are some general safety tips for an outing in crowded places.

  1. Use zones. Creating zones is especially helpful if you’re going to a new outdoor park. You have your kids play in one area of the park at a time and transition to new sections together.
  2. Dress your children in bright colors. Bright colors are a great way to easily spot them from a distance if the child makes a run for it.
  3. When you can, try to go at non-peak hours when the venue will be less crowded.
  4. Teach your kids a code word to yell if they’re in trouble or need help. A million children are screaming ‘MOMMY!’ or ‘DADDY!’ but not many will be yelling ‘DINOSAUR!’. I let our oldest pick our code word, and every so often we change it. It’s an easy way for me to know when she needs help- especially at a playground.

Buddy System

The buddy system is a great way to keep track of a large group of kids and is helpful if you’re going somewhere with other families.

  1. Pair an older child with a younger child.  The older kid can keep an eye on the younger kid and leave your hands free to hold another child’s hand.
  2. When using the buddy system, both children need to understand that they must stay together.
  3. If your group is walking through a crowd, have one adult in front for the kids to follow, and another adult in the back keep an eye on everyone.

Be Observant

Be aware of your surroundings! Being observant is probably the best tip I have for safety in crowded places. Always trust your gut, if things don’t look or feel right- leave. You’ll probably end up with disappointed kids, but you can schedule another time or try a different activity instead. It’s always better to have your kids safe and whining about the situation than dealing with a scary alternative.

Pay Attention

I’m not going to suggest that you leave your phone in the car or packed away in the diaper bag. That’s just ridiculous and not at all practical. If my kids are contently playing or eating their lunch at a restaurant, you can bet I’m going to hop on my phone and check Facebook or send a text.

Regardless of where you are, paying attention to where your kids are and what they are doing should be priority #1.  You know that though. Just remember, it only takes a few seconds for little ones to become the playground daredevil, get sidetracked and wander, or a stranger to seize an opportunity.

It’s perfectly ok to take a break and check your phone AND pay attention to your kids. You can do both.

There are a ton of additional safety tips in the toolkit! Get access to it below.

That’s a lot of information! These tips will help keep your children safe even in very crowded places. If you have any great tips for child safety in crowded places, please comment below! I’d love to hear from you.

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Until Next time! Chrissie

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