Thursday, July 22, 2010

What's The Password?

Yesterday while shopping at Kohl's I ended up having to make a bathroom run with the older two Scribblers. You know what I am talking about. Being all the way at the front of the store with your purchases, standing in line and about to check out; when someone starts the pee-pee dance and the "chant". So we race the seemingly 5 mile sprint to the back of the store in the far corner to the bathroom.

After finishing our business of examining each stall, trying out every sink and joyfully playing with the automatic towel dispenser (Who thought of these things and why do they only work if I flay my hands around like a cheap magician trying to impress you with a trick?) we exited the bathroom to be met by a frantic looking man who asked "Was there a little girl in there?" I didn't see one, but I went back to check. Nope, nobody was in the bathroom at all. I went back to the man and told him it was empty and asked how old was she and did he not see her come out?

She's 4 and I told her to come find me in the men's department when she was done.

This is a depiction of me losing my mind at that statement thanks to google images.

I told him to hurry and tell a store clerk to lock down and store and I would help him look. He replies, "Why would I want them to lock down the store?"

Um...because your kid might be on the back of a milk carton if you don't. How about that for a reason?

He ran off to alert the clerk and I went the opposite direction with instructions the the Scribblers that we were looking for a little girl named Emily and to help me call her. We found her sitting quietly by the kids jewelry and hair bows and I told her that her Dad was looking for her and to come with me.

She asked no questions and willingly took my hand. I cringed!!!

After returning her back to her grateful and meek father, I proceeded to have him for lunch concerning child safety. There are a few things that I suggested to him, that I want to pass along to you.

  1. Never, ever, ever, ever, amen...send a young child into a bathroom by themselves and then LEAVE the door. If your child is the opposite sex than you, grab a store clerk that is filing their nails or typing on their cell phone and ask for them to accompany your child into the restroom. Always stand guard outside the bathroom door and do not leave your post for any reason. Your child trusts that you will only allow them to go somewhere that they will be safe. It's not just a "stranger-danger" taking your child from the bathroom, but what could happen if they are unattended inside the restroom.
  2. Always know what color clothes your child is wearing. If they do disappear, wander off, whatever...be able to tell someone their hair color, height, color of shirt.
  3. Teach your child a password. Something easy to remember that if someone was to approach them and tell them "Your mommy/daddy told you to come with me" they will request the password and not leave with anyone who does not know it, but leave the area, screaming and search out a store clerk.
  4. If you child becomes separated from you and can't find you, they should immediately go to a store clerk or a mom with children and tell them that they have lost their parent.
By following just one of the rules, yesterday could have been prevented for this little girl.

What safety rules do your children follow in public?

16 comments:

Mama M. said...

Shut up!! Shut up, shut up, shut up!

Who sends their 4 year old to the bathroom ALONE?????

I hope you did have him for lunch...and I hope you enjoyed every morsel!

Wow.

*Jess* said...

holy cow, that could have ended badly!! I'll have to quiz my husband on those things to make sure he knows that would never be acceptable!

Bethany @ Organic Enchilada said...

I never have understood people who will send their kids into a bathroom alone. My oldest is nine, and I think he's only been using the bathroom without me (in public) for two years, and we still make him take his brother with him. Never alone. There was a little kid, I think he was 7, molested in a Burger King restroom a couple years ago - all while his parents were happily munching their Whoppers. Duh.

But just this morning I was thinking about my kids needing a password - code word, whatever. It's the one area I feel like I've neglected. So now I have to come up with a word that we can all remember.

Courtney said...

Okay, my four year old boy still goes into the women's bathroom with me because I'm terrified to let him out of my sight these days.

The password is an excellent idea!

Amy O'Connor said...

Thank God that the little girl was okay! My heart immediately jumps up to my throat when I even think of anything like that.

I've thought of but never done the password thing myself. I guess because I'm like a leach staying on my kids. My son is 9 years old and I still try to get him to come into the ladies room with us. I am so thankful for those places that have a family restroom. Then at least I can let him be independent but know that there is no chance of someone else being in there with him.

Thank you for sharing this!

ThroughAMothersEye said...

The password idea is excellent!

When I know we are planning on going somewhere that may be crowded I ALWAYS dress my girls the same. It helps me remember what each is wearing and keep up with them easier. I can see where it may not work for moms with boys and girls, but even if they wore the same color?

Great post!

Pammy pam said...

ok first of all let me say that i am grateful that you were there to help this poor (stupid) father. I think the mom instinct in all of us just went on high alert!

second of all, I think that for some reason, Dads are not taught how to be proper looker outers for their children. I see it all the time at the day care where i work: we joke around that the dads forget the diaper bags or the baby's outfit doesnt match or the baby smells like vomit. And isnt it always coincidental that when little junior falls and breaks a bone or bumps his head it's on Dad's watch?

maybe dads arent trained? maybe they dont care? i'm hoping its the former rather than the latter: As moms I think we need to do a better job of training our spouses to be better dads. Tell them what we want them to do and ensure they follow through. just like we do with the kiddos.

sorry for the rant. i'm missing my oldest who is away at college orientation.

emily @ the happy home said...

aieeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! i couldn't imagine a parting being that foolish. thank you SO MUCH for schooling this guy.

Funsucker Extraordinaire said...

Thanks for the reminder about the password.

I was recently at an amusement park that had a waterpark attached taking my girls to the ladies room. There was a dad trying to get his daughter (about 8?) to go into the restroom alone. He felt she was too old to go to the men's room with him. (probably right) He looked pathetically at me and asked if I would look after her inside the restroom. I ended up having to help her pull up her sticky wet swimsuit. Poor thing!

He didn't know me. I could have been some creeper. Just because a woman has children with her doesn't make her harmless. He's lucky I'm me! People need to learn that strangers are not babysitters.

Megan M. said...

Gah, what a situation! My boys now go to public restrooms themselves (well, together, so it's a team effort) but I'm that crazy woman you saw hovering around the men's room doorway. Terrifies me, and I cannot imagine the idiocy of someone telling their four year old child to come find them in the mens department! Dude, she can't see you over the racks! *smh*

Melissa (Confessions of a Dr. Mom) said...

Great reminder, thanks for posting this info. I also tell my 5 year old that he ONLY goes with his "safe adults" (mom, dad,GPs) and NO ONE else, no matter what! Even if he kind of knows them. So glad this little girl was okay:)

Jamie said...

I worked at a library and I was shocking how flippant people were with their kids in this manner. There was one time where, if I was that sort of person, I could have walked right out of the door with a little one. She was 2? 3? Her Mom left her in the children's department Downstairs while she used the computer upstairs. I was sick and horrified and the mom? Couldn't care less that the little one was upset and looking for her. Witch.

Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

Okay, totally not the point of your post, but I tried to shop in Kohl's this week too...I need work clothes... I got NOTHING!

On topic of your post and the little girl going with you...I will say that I have always taught my kids that if they are lost, they should ask and MOM with KIDS for help. That said, when I find a lost child, I usually sit right there with them and send another adult to notify someone...that way I'm not asking the child to go anywhere with me.

A great reminder post, though...it's time to go over the 'rules' with my kids again.

Lolidots said...

What the whaaaa???? My son is about to turn 6 and I still make him come in the ladies' room with me!

Sounds like a pretty clueless dad. Hopefully he took what you said to heart and will change his parenting a bit.

Lois Houston said...

Oh.my.goodness. I am speechless. I just can't even imagine. Thank GOD you were there to rescue that poor child - think of what might've happened if someone less motherly had happened by.

Megryansmom said...

I was drawn, hehehe, to your blog by the title. I'm a HUGE crayon lover. This is very sound advice that I plan on sharing with my daughter to share with my grandson. Thank you!

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