I recently wrote this post of How I Lost my Son in a Shopping Mall, and even though I lost him for just a few minutes, it was a long and harrowing experience that I would never wish on any parent.
Following that post, and from the feedback I received from fellow mums about similarly losing their kids, as well as those asking about what one should do in the event their child gets lost, I spoke to Maryana Munyendo of Simba-Safe Kenya on the issue. Simba-Safe Kenya is a personal safety education program for children. Today, Maryana shares with us 10 helpful steps that one can take to help find a missing child as quickly and as safely as possible.
1. Do your best to remain calm. People can help you easier when you are calm and remain so.
2. Find the nearest security officer or employee and explain that your child is missing. They will alert the management desk, who can then ensure that all exits are on heightened alert for the missing child.
3. Give the employee or officer a complete description of your child. This includes; name and nickname, age, height, weight, skin colour, clothing and special features like braces or spectacles. A recent photograph from your phone or wallet would also be very helpful.
4. Notify the nearest police station and fill out a police report with your contact details.
5. Spread the word to as many people as you know on text message that your child is missing, with centralized police contacts as an intermediary for messages.
6. Contact the media with information on your missing child. This should be only after you have lodged a report with the police.
7. Inform your child’s teacher or school. Their reports of recent behavior can be helpful.
8. Lock down your child’s computer or mobile phone and wait for law enforcement to access it.
9. Use social media with a consistent information package/poster about your missing child that has centralized contacts.
10. Be good to yourself and others around you. Take care of your spouse and other children to reduce tension.
firstname.lastname@example.org l @SimbasafeK l 0715 856 885
Centre for Missing Children Kenya
email@example.com l @MissingKidsKE l 0733 225 235
firstname.lastname@example.org l 0727 637 076/0735 813 344
So there you go. Hope this information helps!