Staying Safe with Kids at the Mall

Sponsored Editorial By:
Tommy Lee, Safety Instructor East Coast Martial Arts

During the holiday season our minds are on all of the parties, events and gifts we have to purchase for our loved ones, friends and office mates. We are trying to think of what to buy for the party, what to wear for the event and what to buy someone for a gift. So much is going through our minds during the Holiday Season that, by the time we think of safety, it's almost too late. 

The malls are crowded with so many people, it's hard for us to get around and even harder when we have our children with us. We race into stores, wait at registers, have our hands full and are stressed about getting home on time without letting our spouse, friend or child see what we are buying them. With all this in our brains at once, are we thinking, "Where is my son or daughter? Did I leave my pocketbook, cell phone or credit card lying at the last register? Did I lock my car? Did I leave things out in the open where people can break the car window and steal the expensive presents purchased?"

The Bad Guys are lurking and waiting for us to make a mistake. They are waiting for us to put down a bag of gifts we have already purchased so they can quickly pick it up and walk. Some are waiting in line taking cell phone pictures of our license, identification and credit card numbers as they sit on the counter awaiting a clerk to swipe them. Outside in the parking lot, there are people standing around watching who is going from the mall to the stores to put things in their car for storage until they make the next trip out bearing gifts. They know they have ample time from the time someone leaves their car to go back into the mall and when they return. Wow, perfect timing for a quick break-in.

Accidents also happen during the holidays. Not only is everyone frantic about getting to stores, parties and events, usually the weather is bad creating an even riskier situation.

This Holiday Season, be safe. Plan your trips and teach your kids what to do incase you get separated. Have a plan so if something goes wrong, you can be confident you were prepared.

Step one: Make a plan to visit stores during times that are not overcrowded.

Step two: Teach your children where to go and who to ask for help if they get lost in the mall. Make sure they know never to go outside and look for you. You should go to the mall during the empty time and establish zones. If they get lost here, go here. If they get lost over there, go to that store. If they get lost in the store you are in, go to the sales person with a nametag or to the register and ask them to page mom or dad.

There are many ways to teach your kids. A woman with children would be the best person to approach if you cannot find a worker or employee. If your kids are young, consider purchasing a GPS device that fits on their wrists or in their backpacks. This way, if you get separated, it will be easier to know where they are.

There are many things you can do to keep yourself and your family safe. The first step is to recognize that there is a potential threat and to plan for it. For specific scenario's e-mail tommy@EastCoastMartialArts.com and I would be more than happy to suggest some safety tips during this holiday season.

 

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