Festivals, concerts, and parks are fun, but crowds can be dangerous. We have all heard the stories of people crushed during large gatherings like music concerts or a Black Friday sale. Here are some tips on how to stay safe in crowds.
Prepare Your Children
- A missing child is a parent’s worst nightmare. The best way to protect children in crowded settings is to empower them. Make sure your young children know their phone number, address, and have memorized what you are wearing on that day.
- Have your child wear an ID bracelet with your cell phone number engraved on it or just write the number in permanent marker on the child’s arm.
- Warn your children away from parking lots. Parking lots are notorious for abductions and traffic collisions.
- Make sure your child knows who to trust: police officers, other mothers with young children, security personnel, etc.
- Pick an easily recognizable landmark or sign as a rallying point in case you get separated.
- If an older child can be trusted with a mobile phone or two-way radio, use that to keep in touch.
- Do not dress young children in clothing (or give them a backpack) that displays their name. Predators use the child’s name to gain trust.
- If you stayed at a hotel that morning, you can grab some of the hotel’s business cards on your way out and stuff them in your child’s pocket. Tell your child to hand it to a police officer.
- As soon as you realize your child is missing, report it. Timing is critical.
- When you arrive, find out where the first aid station is located. Other places to notice are security stations, medical tents, or lifeguard stations.
- Look for alternate exits. In cases of mass evacuation, most people will go one way. It might be to your benefit to know another way to leave the area.
- Identify any people behaving oddly. You do not have to be afraid. Just know who they are. In a moment of crisis, such people may behave in unpredictable ways.
- Notice unattended bags. They are not only dangerous in airports.
- Find the stairs. During an emergency, they may be safer than the elevators.
Conceal Your Money
- If you are sitting, like at a ballpark or a movie, do not place your purse or other handheld items on the floor by your feet. People tend to forget about them and when you are not paying attention, someone can steal them from you.
- Keep your wallet in your front pocket.
- You should feel your purse against the side of your body at all times.
- Avoid ATMs in crowded places. Do not advertise the fact that you have cash.
Develop Your Observation Skills
- Do not get inebriated.
- Do not get stuck on one odd or out of place item. Notice the environment. Look behind. Check the foreground.
- If you are looking for a loved one, do not forget to listen also. Keep your breathing in check. Listen for their distinct tone of voice, rather than listening only for words.