To think you should stay with a lost child?(141 Posts)
So yesterday I took the DC to a local lake/woodland area for a walk. They took bikes and scooters and we've been lots of times always sticking to the man made path around the lake/trees. They go ahead but never too far or out of sight or off the path.
About half way round ds2 scoots ahead and stops outside the playground and cafe area where we were stopping for lunch. He turned around and because this bit is much busier, he couldn't see me. I could see him in the distance but he panicked and started crying.
I saw a lady walking her dog approach him and after about 10 seconds she carried on. I sped up and got to him. I asked him what the dog walker had said' which was to ask him why he was crying, ds2 had said he couldn't see his mum and she'd just said 'oh I'm sure she'll be along in a minute'. Granted I was and he was fine but still... Shouldn't you stay and comfort a lost child?
I'd have stayed. I've once followed a young child who was clearly lost but wouldn't let me talk to him. We were in a busy arena so I followed him until I saw two rather unfazed looking parents gazing round (from the bar) for their lost son who then ran over to them. I was tempted to give them a piece of my mind but was just glad he was safe and reunited. He must have been about 3.
To clarify, I'm not a 'peado on every corner' thinking person and I have no problem with my children exploring out of my sight if that's what they feel comfortable with. Ds2 is just getting to that stage, happy to disappear off in a large park area where he knows where I'll be waiting for example. This just threw him a bit because he hadn't actually gone out of sight. We were on a very long straight and he had a bright t-shirt on so I could see him (too far and busy to shout though) but he stopped and heart flipped when he realised there was no longer a straight eye line back to me.
He's also small for his age so I would've thought she might think he were younger than 7. I'm just overwhelmingly surprised that she cared enough to stopped but then left him crying.
Oh well he's fine of course. My own thoughts are that they should wait where they are for a while but if they feel too scared to then into the cafe is next best thing. Screaming is always allowed if they aren't sure about a stranger, trust their tummies (instincts) and they know my mobile number by heart.
Would probably not have stayed around, but told the kiddo to sit in the cafe and wait - I am naive enough to think that would be safe for a 7 year old. Had the child been 5 or under I would have stayed I think this has a lot to do with how people are brought up in terms of what they think is reasonable for a child to cope with. If child was injured or in the middle of nowhere, it'd be a different situation.
Not exactly like your situation, but I was on my way home from work during lunch break once, on foot as lived literally 5 minutes away. A little girl of about 4 or 5 who was playing in her backstreet with friends began to follow me as I passed them. I didn't realise until I was nearly outside my house and glanced back, there she was skipping along behind me. she had somehow managed to cross two very busy roads on her own. I wasn't sure what to do, she simply went and sat on my neighbours doorstep, so I assumed she knew them. She wasn't upset or crying. I quickly Wolfed down lunch as I was worried about her and I wasn't happy about leaving her sat there. Stepped back out a few minutes later and she was still sat on the doorstep. I asked her if she wanted to go home to which she nodded, so I grabbed her hand and took her back to the street I had seen her playing. Her dm and dgm were frantically looking for her when we got there, and were so grateful when I relayed to them what had happened.
Sometimes dc will do things like wander off, I would hope an adult would help my child if they were lost/in danger. That little girl could have been seriously hurt, or worse due to the busy roads. She could have followed a paedophile or pervert. They do exist so no I'm not being hysterical for those who may think it.
No rabid hysteria I've ever seen, just people who are fed up of dogs when they are out of the control or leaping up and knocking children over whilst the drippy dog owner is whining about how the dog is just being friendly
I would always stop for a 'lost' child and have done in the past, however having seen the rabid hysteria on MN regarding dogs I would certainly think twice if I had a dog with me.
I've been sworn at for dealing with a lost child before - outside a school, she recognised me as I'd been doing supply in the class, and having been separated from her parents in the after-school scrum, she came over to me as I was leaving... took her back in side to the office, they said they'd look after her so I left again, and ran into her parents - told them where she was, that she'd done the sensible thing and gone for a known adult... absolute utter gobful of abuse that now they'd have to take 20 steps to get inside school again and how inconvenient it was for them.
I can't remember who wrote it now as I've just read the whole thread...but whoever said they write their mobile number on dc's hand when they're out at the beech etc. thanks for that great tip it's such a good idea my dd isn't walking yet but this is something i really worry about I'll always try and remeber that now in case she ever escapes my sight.
Jan the thought of that wouldn't deter me. There've been too many tragedies where adults have looked the other way.
From an early age I trained my children to stay still if they felt lost, especially in busy places, as two people moving around decreases the chances of being found,
We chatted about alerting police or shop staff to their situation,
but being overly worried as you do about other people's intentions,
I had over emphasised the not going anywhere with people (not just strangers), and told them to stay put and loudly announce that they had lost their parent/carer,
This all worked well until DS2 came along, who the moment he could not see the adult he was with (usually he was just facing the other way and the parent was a few yards away), would foghorn, "I am lost, I am lost, I am lost, I am lost", none stop, only breaking from full pitch "I am lost" to an even louder "YOU ARE NOT MY MUMMY/DADDY" at any adult that tried to approach him.
on the few times he managed to be in the wrong supermarket aisle, you would hear an explosion of sound, and by the time you got there he would be in the middle of a circle of very concerned adults.
To the PP who tells their child to stay put, if I tried to take a child to a safe place and they said they had been told never to go with strangers I would tell them to stay exactly where they were (barring immediate danger) and I would go let the relevant authority know (cafe in this case, lifeguard, security guard etc). Better to look a bit stupid when they came to investigate and the child has gone than to try and drag a kicking screaming child! Again I would only do this if there was no sign of the parents after waiting a few minutes.
Mirry2, what about when the parent accuses you of trying to kidnap their child and calls the police? Or punches you? Would you still feel comfortable that you did the right thing in approaching a lost child?
People can be vile but I'd rather be on the end of their tongue than not help a child who seems lost or distressed.
LoveSewingBee, that's terrible! What an idiotic woman she was - she could have lost her child in a split second. When DS1 was about that age, we went walking on the beach and DH was being a bit slack about holding his hand - DS1 trotted into the water and fell straight over, because the water sucks the sand away from under the feet of course - DH was close enough to scoop him up immediately though. If you couldn't even see the woman, there is very little chance that she'd have got to her DD in time to save her if she'd run into the water and fallen over. So sad that some people are so stupid when it comes to water safety.
God, what a vile woman. So she could see her toddler not only dangerously near the water but also crying, could she? Hmmmm. I would have been shaking with anger in your place, being met with such aggression for caring about the safety of her tiny child.
That I should leave her child alone and she would report me to police (mind you, no police in sight otherwise I would obviously have handed the girl to the police).
I told her we had been looking for her and was pleased we found her. She was virtually spitting at me out of anger. She said she had the child in her sight all the time, hard to believe imo plus the child was way way to close to the surf, she could easily have been dragged away by the sea.
Not read the whole thread.
I would have stayed. However, parents can get very aggressive if you stay with/talk to their lost child.
Recently I walked with my family on the beach. I saw a little girl wandering around very close to the surf. I watched her and she then followed a little boy. A father appeared and grabbed the little boy. I asked if the little girl was with him, he said no and left with the boy. The girl was crying by now. I asked whether she could see her father/mother anywhere. We then started walking back where there are some beach establishments, often stopping to look around for her parents. Finally a very angry woman approached, who turned out to be the mother. This girl was probably about 1.5 to 2 years (still in nappy, not talking yet), very close to the surf, the mother was extremely angry with me.
So I do understand that not all people would be willing to help.
A friend of mine saw a lost child, kept an eye on her from a distance - after about 10 mins he approached her and asked if she was okay - the mother appeared and went mad at him. So no, even as a woman I don't think I would get involved.
I would be annoyed at myself for letting him get where he couldn't see me and at him for going out of sight and panicking, given his age.
I don't understand why people would be more concerned about the possibility of negative reaction from the mother than helping a child. What's a few cross words?
I would hesitate to speak to a child because I think a parent would probably come along and criticise me for talking to their child or tell me their child was fine and I was interfering.
The only times I've ever helped a child in trouble, the parent has then arrived and completely ignored me, never thanked me or shown that they cared or were concerned for their child. If the child is older than a toddler, I'd assume the parents were happy with him/her to be out alone because some parents are. So I'd be very hesitant to speak to a child who looked about 7. As you say the woman had a dog, maybe she felt unable to stay with a child in case the dog frightened him or a parent said "how dare you go near my child with your dog!"
YABU because she probably did see you in the distance and knew you would be coming along in a moment. I have stayed with lost children but if I could see someone who most likely was their mum in the distance, I might leave them too like she did.
I wouldn't have walked away from a lost child, although if I were in a genuine rush and there was a 'safe' option - police, shopping centre management, security guard, store/restaurant then I may hand the child over to them. They would likely have better resources for tracking down a lost parent than me anyway.
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