Talk Tip: If Your Kid Gets Lost in a Crowd

A while back we went to a much anticipated soccer match the the Meadowlands in NJ. It was an absolute mad house–granted a really exciting one. As we penetrated the stadium stampede, and I lost hold of my youngest for a split second, I realized we’ve never discussed the “If you get lost in a great big stadium” scenario, as we don’t attend many sporting events. When we got to our seats, I pulled out a pen, wrote my cell phone number on his arm, and told him if he got lost that he should ask a grownup, preferably a mom, to call my cell. On the ride home, we practiced reciting my and my husband’s cell phone numbers. I realized they both had our home number committed to memory, but what good does that do these days? This on-the-arm idea is good especially for littler kids or for when you have other kids under your charge, who won’t know your number by heart. Does anyone have other ideas for this?


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Comments (8)


  1. Posted by: TrishO

    I have also put my number on my kids arm in sharpie. I even did on my 10 year old during the St Patrick’s day parade in Chicago. It was a mad house and most people were really drunk. My 10 year old knows our numbers but I was afraid if he got lost and was afraid he might forget our numbers in his panic. I tell my boys if they are lost or need help to go to a Gap or Starbucks or other chain store and talk to the person checking people out. My theory is there is usually one close by, that person has access to a phone, and there are many people around. The story of the little boy in NYC a few years ago that ask the stragnger for help when walking home from school that killed him…well that just terrified me. I thought better to have them go to a public place. Your direction to find a mom is a good one as well.

    I am interested in other ideas. Guessing my 10 year old does not want me hovering with a pen much longer. May be time for his own phone.

  2. Posted by: TrishO

    I guess my comments do nothing to further your talk of stadium safety. Sorry. I must have summer festival safety on the brain.

  3. Before traveling abroad last year, we ordered my son an ID bracelet from It’s black rubber (of the “live strong” variety) with a small, silver square engraved with “Mom cell (phone number), Dad cell (phone number).”. (we included country codes, too). It had no identifiers on it, just contact info. We always tell him to find a mom or a grandma if he gets separated from us and have them call us. He still wears it at home because it looks kind of cool and he’s had the opportunity to use it once – although I was about 20 feet away from him. I think he was just excited to use it. :)

  4. Posted by: Jackie

    I write on a piece of paper my number and name and stuff it deep into my kids pocket. If no pocket I go for the number on the arm.

  5. Posted by: Maura

    I write cell phone numbers on skin as well. Or a piece of blue painter’s tape (placed on the back) if we remember before we leave the house.

    I also taught my children to sing my cell phone number. That seemed to work better than just reciting the numbers.

    And finally, I have taught them to to look for a nice woman or a man with children or a person in a uniform of they can’t find their ground-up. They are to tell them their name and that they can’t find their parent.

    We got separated from my daughter at the Maker Faire when she was 6 and these techniques worked perfectly. I was sacred out of my mind for about 15 minutes, but so proud of her when I made it to the security office where she had been brought.

  6. Posted by: Tracey

    Our local hockey arena takes piece of ticket they tear off with seat info on it and tells kids to put it in their shoe. They then explain to look for any facility staff if they are lost and show their ticket info from stub inside their shoe so they could deliver the child back to their seat. Thankfully haven’t had to test system but thought it ingenious when tick collector explained it to my then 4 yr old.

  7. Posted by: julia

    I’m totally calling you. jk. ok, i never thought of this. my son is 3. scares me to death. i guess the marker on arm would work for that age too, i mean, if you see a 3 yr old alone with a phone number on his arm. ugugugug. stressful. thanks for pointing this out thou – its serious!

  8. I have thought about for a while making bracelets out of all the number beads I have collected in various colors. My 12 year old has a phone and knows my number anyway but my 6 year old could forget in a stressful movement of being seperated from me. Having a bracelet with my cell phone number could work. Im going to get on it.

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