Talk about getting too close for comfort. It turns out a man who was repeatedly getting within reach of a 2-year-old boy at an amusement park in Ohio may have been attempting to snatch the toddler. After he was arrested, police found toys and movies of children in his truck. Then, they came to find out he was secretly recording children all day with a hidden video camera in his sunglasses.
When it comes to kidnapping, amusement parks terrifyingly provide an environment ripe for the picking. But the truth is, there’s a much bigger chance families can get separated in crowded and chaotic parks. To avoid a potential horror story, consider these tips next time you spend a day at the park:
- Establish A Meeting Place: Before you even set foot in the park, map out where you should meet if someone gets separated or in the event of another emergency.
- Point Out Park Employees: Make sure your child understands what a uniformed park employee looks like. This way, if you do get separated, your child can find someone to help.
- Have “The Talk”: Tell your kids about the importance of staying close. This doesn’t mean you need to barrage Junior with stories of kidnappings, but it couldn’t hurt to let them know how much you’d miss them if something happened.
- Stay Alert: Everyone, including children, should should stay aware of their surroundings. This will not only help you stay together, but can keep kids away from running into obstacles like trash cans, barriers or other people.
- Choose Bright Clothing: There’s no missing your child if he or she is wearing Dayglo orange (unless everyone else is, too).
- Get Your Kid a Tattoo: Not a real one, silly. Companies now make temporary “safety” tattoos that allow you to put your telephone number on your child — and it won’t wash off in the wave pool like a marker does. This could also be good if your child has an allergy or medical condition.
- Stick Together: Above all, don’t let your kids get lost in the crowd. This means staying by their side at every moment — from the concession stands to the restrooms.