How To Keep Your Kids Safe While Shopping
Due to the festive season, malls are usually crowded leading to cases of missing kids at the mall. Here are tips to keep your child safe while shopping.
A Durban security guard, who reportedly tried to kidnap a two-year-old while he was shopping with his grandmother, is due to appear in the Verulam magistrate’s court. The incident happened in the mall, which isn't so unusual considering the festive period. Parents need to be extra vigilant this season, so here are some tips to keep kids safe while shopping.
Mall safety: tips to keep kids safe while shopping
According to KwaZulu-Natal police, the boy was sitting in the trolley while his grandmother shopped. When she turned and didn't see her grandson she started searching and screaming out for him. Then she spotted the boy with a man in a security guard's uniform walking into one of the shops with her grandson. Quickly, she approached and pulled the boy out of the man's hand, before reporting to the mall management who contacted the police.
In relation to the incident, Lt-Gen Khombinkosi Jula, KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner, has warned shoppers to be watchful this period.
“We are appealing to parents and guardians to always keep an eye on their children, especially during this peak festive period,” Jula said. “At this stage, we do not know what the suspect's intentions were, but this incident once again highlights the need for us to remain vigilant at all times.”
How do I keep my child safe in the mall?
Most stores use different kinds of displays, some of which are not as strong as they look. As you shop around the mall, your child may want to lean on some of these displays as he follows you around, trusting that it could carry his weight. However strong it looks don't let your child lean on them. Below are other display safety tips:
- Kids are usually fascinated by stuff like mannequins, but don't let them play with any of those things. The mannequins are not always strong on their feet, which means a little touching can make them fall over and injure your kid.
- In some stores, the display is huge and tall and there's space underneath some of them. Children often want to crawl under one of those displays as a way to catch fun. This is dangerous because the child might pull the whole thing down on his or herself.
There's hardly a mall where you wouldn't find shopping carts because customers use them to go around as they pick stuff. Parents who put their kids in the carts and drive them around may see this practice as safe but it's not. Cart related accidents have sent thousands of children to the emergency units. Here are some tips to keep your child safe:
- Instead of having your child in the basket, have him or her sit on the fold-down seat of the cart. But provided it has a seat belt.
- Don't let your child sit or push from the side of the cart.
- Don't put your baby carrier on top of the cart because it might fall over.
Even for adults, a mall is a place where you could get carried away, moving from row to row just looking at stuff. Then imagine how interesting the place might look to children, which is exactly why they are bound to wander off without your notice.
Here's how you can keep your child from wandering off:
- What better way to get kids to stay put than to give them something that takes away their interest in the mall? So, bring along their favourite toy to keep them occupied as they follow you around.
- Get your child to memorise your phone number. If she can't, then write the number and put it in her pocket. This way, whoever finds her can easily contact you.
- Plan ahead and tell your child what he should do if he loses you in the mall. Tell him to stand where he is and keep calling your name. Or teach him how he can identify security officers he can ask for help.
- If your child gets separated from you in the mall, go to security straight and report it. They may have ways to handle these kinds of situations.
Holiday seasons are always very crowded in the malls. If you must come to the mall with kids, make sure you talk to them. Also, have these security tips handy.