Hummingbird Holiday Shopping with Kids: Safety Tips

With hundreds of thousands of children going missing in the United States every year, a lost child is no laughing matter. Granted, many of these lost children are parental abductions; however, it's better to be safe than sorry, especially if you have more than one child under the age of five. Here's what you can do to make your holiday shopping a safer experience.

1. Whether you have twins, triplets, or two singletons close in age, dress your kids in the same bright colored, shirts or sweaters and hats. Hot pink, day-glo orange, lime green, bright yellow, or white work well and stand out in crowds.

2. If you're doing some serious shopping, it's nearly impossible to check out the merchandise and keep an eye on several toddlers at once. Take a friend, husband, grandparent, nanny, or mother's helper with you if possible. Two sets of hands and eyes will allow you to shop quickly and efficiently.

3. Stash your cell phone number in a secure and visible location somewhere on each child so that you can be reached at any time of the day or night.

4. Always carry a recent photo of your children in your wallet for identification purposes.

5. If your child does wander off, don't yell at her. Simply be firm and let her know that mommy was worried and she needs to stay close by no matter what. Let her know that if she wants to go look at something she must take mommy with her not her brother or sister.

6. Last but not least, make sure your children understand that they must stay near you at all times in public places and never wander off alone or in a group. You will need to reinforce this each and every time you go out. Be sure to praise them for being good during and after the shopping expedition.

Related article: Shopping with Toddlers

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