Today’s post is a guest post from author Steena Holmes of the wonderful book Finding Emma.
Today Steena grapples with something that a fear that all parents face at one point or another (I know I have). Please read on for Steena’s important message:
It’s every parents worst nightmare. The moment when you realize that your child is missing. You may be at the supermarket or mall and inadvertently lost sight of your child for one brief moment. Maybe you sent them outside to play but when you call them, no one answers, such as in my novel, Finding Emma.
There is that moment when everything stops and you can’t move past that second. It’s called Code Black to authorities and it’s very real and very scary. It’s also very natural and will only last for a few moments even though it will feel like eternity.
But then what? The first thing you need to do is stay calm. Don’t panic. If you are at the store, think take a look around you, go through some of the aisles you were just in – your child might not have caught up to you. Or perhaps they went to the candy or toy aisle without you. If you are someplace crowded, like a mall or a carnival – stay in one place. Don’t move. Just circulate slowly around you and scan the area. Did your child wander over to the fishing game they’ve been begging to play so they can win a prize? Or maybe there is a certain store with a shiny object they saw on tv? Often your child is close by, but we panic and rush about.
The next thing you need to do is get on the phone, the PA system, or rush to the information desk. Let them know your child is missing. Call your child’s friends – see if they are visiting or if they went to the park together. Call the authorities and let them know what has happened with as much detail as possible. Search the area, the neighborhood, but always keep your phone on you and someone at home.
Do you have a child profile kit? What about recent photographs? Have you had your child’s fingerprints taken through school for safety purposes? These are all viable resources that can help you.
I have partnered with Missing Children’s Society of Canada where proceeds from every sale is donated to help reunite families with missing children. They have wonderful resources on their website, including this pamphlet on what do do and what you need to have in case your child ever goes missing – it’s called “What do I do – My Child is Missing (click the link then follow to the pdf.)
It’s every parent’s nightmare, but it doesn’t have to become their reality. If you haven’t taken the steps already to ensure your child’s safe return, please, take a look at their pamphlet and see what you need to do just in case. Please – it’s better to be safe then sorry.