As soon as we became a parent, we educated ourselves about child safety - from the proper bottles we use, childproofing our homes, and learning the proper use of car seats to the importance of helmets. Quite often, we are unaware of the less common dangers such as accidents that may occur at the grocery store or the local shopping mall.
Escalators - To us, adults, this is no more than a way to bring us up or down a level; however, to a child, this looks like a fun and adventurous ride. Little do they know, that they could seriously get injured. Make sure your kids tie their shoelaces before getting on escalator, stand in the center of the escalator face forward, hold the handrail and stop off at the end and lastly refrain from sitting or playing on the escalators.
Since accidents with shopping carts have been well publicized over the years, warnings have been printed on most shopping carts these days. Still, it is a good idea to be cautious of the risks involved particularly head injuries that occur with falls. Many of us think that by just placing the child in the cart is safe enough and often ignore the seat belts they come with, but don't underestimate your child's ability to come out or attempt to come out. It only takes you reaching for that item on the top shelf for a fatal accident to occur. That being said, even with the seat belt, the best way for prevention is always being close to your child, and anticipating the hidden dangers surrounding.
Besides the physical dangers mentioned above, this one is by far the most important to be cautious of. It is easy for us parents to be distracted when shopping - whether it be a sale bin we find or running into an old friend. Sometimes, we think it's safe to just leave our kids "just for a second" to grab an item, but forget that it only takes "that second" for someone to take them. The shopping center is a great opportunity for kidnappers - it is overwhelming with consumers and parents "too busy" to be focused on their children at all times. Remember to discuss a few of these tips with your children if ever an attempt is made:
• Thrash, fight, bite, and scream, "Help! Police!" repeatedly, shed a jacket or backpack that is grabbed, drop any excess baggage slowing them down, escape to a populated area, and call the police. YELL! RUN! TELL! The kidnapper fears a public spectacle and may simply flee alone. Also, witnesses may intervene, or at least identify the kidnapper and/or vehicle.
• If there’s a gun, ignore it and run! A gun is used to scare – rarely if ever to shoot a child. (Besides, if he's willing to quickly kill a child on the spot, he'll slowly do worse harm at leisure before killing the child later at a secluded, secondary crime scene anyway.
There are many hidden dangers out there, and as much as we want as parents, we can only do so much. Educating ourselves and our children is the first step. Be safe.