Springfield Police Dept. offers advice if you lose your child in a crowd

Published: Jul. 3, 2022 at 9:00 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Summer is here. And with outdoor events and all the crowds, losing track of your kids can be a real concern.

Matt Stidham, a father of three from Nixa, says losing your child in a crowd is one of the scariest moments as a parent.

”The first thought I have is for me as a parent not to panic,” said Stidham.

Lt. Mark Foos of the Springfield Police Department said to be prepared.

“If they do become separated, there’s already a plan in place,” said Lt. Foos.

Stidham said his family prepares for all significant events.

“Have a backup plan in place, from their youngest ability to remember things and to communicate, we started drilling into them our cell phone numbers,” said Stidham.

Stidham is also a church leader and former school administrator. He said he knows having a meeting place works.

“I brought a school group to Silver Dollar City, and we had a couple of kids whose cell phones died, and they didn’t know how to get ahold of us,” said Stidham. “But they knew the landmark, they knew where to meet us in case of an emergency, and that’s how it turned out. We were able to meet up with them.”

Authorities recommend kids wear glow sticks, strobes, bright or identifiable clothing,

“Make sure your kids are identified such as, either with a wrist bracelet with their name and your name and phone number on it, or a folded up piece of paper in the pocket,” said Lt. Foos.

Police even say having pictures of your kids helps. Also, tell them to find adults they can trust.

“Tell the young children to find another mother with a stroller,” said Lt. Foos. “We all know that mothers are going to be protective of each other.”

Also, having tracking apps on your phone can help, like Life360 or sharing your location.

But Stidham said he stays away from technology because it could fail you.

“Start thinking as the kid, if I were standing here, what would I be interested in? What would draw my attention,” said Stidham. “Often, when my kids get a step or two away, I’m able to find them that way. But again, graining into the child, you don’t walk away.”

Officers said the same goes for adults, as you should wear identifiable markers, light strobe lights, bright colors, or glow sticks.

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