Child went missing in 99p store

(249 Posts)
PassionateaboutParenting Fri 04-Jan-13 18:01:16

My 2 year old son went missing in a 99p store on the High street in Leytonstone. I turned to pay for the items I bought and my son disappeared within those seconds.I called for my son and looked through the isles for him, my 6&4 year olds were with me. I asked the security guard to shut the door, he refused. Instead he told me that I should hold my child's hand.
The last thind I needed in my sheer panic at the thought of having lost my son was to be judged so harshly. None of the staff tried to assist me and just proceeded as usual, and it took another customer to search for my child and bring him to me.
People were awful either pretending not to notice or otherwise passing nasty remarks. I want to start a campaign to create a child safe scheme in my area. Has anyone else done this?
I have complained to the 99p store bit not sure if they will respond. Has anyone heard of the Code Adam in the USA?

PandaOnAPushBike Fri 04-Jan-13 18:05:25

What a nightmare. I know you must have been out of your mind with worry. What is wrong with people these days. A similar thing happened with my daughter 17 years ago in Clarks. Instantly everyone, staff and customers alike were looking for her. She was found in the toy shop next door.

I have 2 of these for my younger two, thankfully I haven't had the need for them yet but they are great for instances such as yours.

perceptionreality Fri 04-Jan-13 18:08:07

Poor you, OP sad I agree - how unfair that you were judged that way, so much for the bloody big society eh? It's impossible to hold onto a child constantly - my 3 year old flatly refuses to do this. I'm very glad you found him.

minibmw2010 Fri 04-Jan-13 18:08:24

Glad you found him but what did you think would happen when you let go? My DS (19 mths) is a bolter so I have to use reins.

I've had similar in a Home Bargains. DD wandered off, was shouting her and asking staff for help and they all ignored me. She was missing for nearly 15 mins, and it was a member of the public that found her

Haven't head of code adam, so can't comment on it

5alive4life Fri 04-Jan-13 18:09:49

you must have felt so worried!! i live in newham and know that 99p shop well. i used to work in retail im canada....we had a code adam happen once in thw shop and we were not allowed to close or lock the doors just to look around for the child. luckily he turned up in the shop next door.

Anyone who has ever taken a wriggly 2 year old to a shop will know it can happen to anyone.
I remember shopping with a friend when we both had toddlers. Her 5 year old DS slipped away and . Staff all rushed to help and found him hiding under a display.
The panic you feel when your child gets lost like this is horrible.
The store response was wrong.

stormforce10 Fri 04-Jan-13 18:11:09

YANBU they should have reacted better than that. If he wouldn't lock the doors the least they could have offered was to have someone watch to make sure no unaccomanpanied toddlers left.

I lost DD in M&S at a similar age and the staff were fantastic. They found her within a few minutes 2 floors up shock. It finally transpired I'd turned my back for a few seconds and she'd run into the lift. Luckily a lady had realised when they got out no one was with her and started trying to find a member of staff by which time I was in panic overdrive 2 floors below.

Its an awful feeling but it can happen to anyone and maybe one day the security guard will realise that and remember how he wouldn't help you.

I am glad you found him quickly

5alive4life Fri 04-Jan-13 18:11:24

btw those who have not heard of code adam,google adam walsh. he was a young boy taken by someone in a sears department store whilst his mum shopped.

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Fri 04-Jan-13 18:12:32

I'm shocked that no staff tried to help! When I was working in shops children often went walkabout and even at our most busy, short staffed times we always made every effort to to look for them.

I haven't heard of Code Adam but I'm guessing its to do with Adam Walsh? Quick google confirms it. I think it's a good idea to have some kind of specific procedure in place for things like this. Think many shops have their own but be good it if was universal.

Sirzy Fri 04-Jan-13 18:12:48

They should have helped but please get something like a little life backpack to stop this happening again.

Kalisi Fri 04-Jan-13 18:13:41

I would have been fuming! I wouldn't dream of ignoring someone who had lost a small child especially at work where you can take more control over the situation.

SunflowersSmile Fri 04-Jan-13 18:13:46

Happened to me with slightly older child in BHS -twice blush and Tesco. Both were brilliant and non judgemental [to my face anyway!].

I had this in homebase when DD was 2 1/2. I'd gone to kwiksave, DD was with exp in homebase when I finished and got there the doors were already shut and the whole shop was looking for and her police called etc.

She was eventually found in the warehouse by a lovely young man who turned green when I explained that that wasn't mud on her hands but poo shock.

She said she went for a wee and poo in the stones why she couldn't have used one of the display toilets like other children I do not know wink

They were fabulous couldn't fault them, only exp who paid dearly for letting her hand go to look at crap stuff.

FredFredGeorge Fri 04-Jan-13 18:23:10

Your children are your responsibility, you are not entitled to help, so sorry YABU. Perhaps the store could've assisted you more, but you are wrong to expect the shop to make huge allowances for your inattention.

happybubblebrain Fri 04-Jan-13 18:24:22

A similar thing happened to me in a local supermarket a few years ago when my daughter was 4. She would never hold my hand. And it's really hard watching them every second when you are trying to find your shopping. It was only a small store, but I was scared she might have wandered out the front door so I went straight there and asked the security guard if he'd seen a small child. He said "you're supposed to be looking after her. You've upset the other customers" and made me feel like the worst parent in the world. I found her within a minute or two. But I was really cross with the security guard. Instead of trying to help me find her he just made me feel awful.

Some people are not nice, it's a sad fact of life.
Glad you found him quickly.

Sirzy Fri 04-Jan-13 18:25:00

Huge allowances? Really? She was asking for security to ensure she didn't get out and people to help look. Is that really a big ask?

PassionateaboutParenting Fri 04-Jan-13 18:26:10

This is shocking it happens to so many parents. How do we change stores's policies though?

LittleBoSqueak Fri 04-Jan-13 18:26:54


What a perfect parent you must be!! Your post disgusted me.

Abra1d Fri 04-Jan-13 18:26:59

Wow, FredFred, that was uncalled for. OP, we once lost my son, then seven, in a museum in Central London. In a moment of inattention he had followed another group out of an exhibition area.

The security people were brilliant and locked the doors for us without us asking and kept us calm. Shame that other people aren't as sympathetic.

JamieandtheMagiTorch Fri 04-Jan-13 18:27:48

Huge allowances?

A little common decency, more like.

happybubblebrain Fri 04-Jan-13 18:28:13

FredFredGeorge - the store should have assisted more, that would have been the right thing to do. The world would be a much better place if we were all looking out for each other and being helpful when we can, especially regarding children.

perceptionreality Fri 04-Jan-13 18:28:49

I totally disagree FredFredGeorge - if a child goes missing it's everyone's moral responsibility to help find them. And what kind of person says 'I don't care, not my responsibility', frankly?

houseelfdobby Fri 04-Jan-13 18:31:17

I had a friend whose 2 yo went missing in a big IKEA store. They closed down the whole store in a very busy period (must have cost a fortune). He turned up two hours of sheer panic later - asleep in a cupboard (!) My friend was soooooo embarrassed (and so very pleased).

Kalisi Fri 04-Jan-13 18:32:45

Come on everyone leave fredfred alone, they were clearly being ironic. Right? Yes?
.........Please say you were because otherwise you kind of sound like a massive dick. Just saying.

somuchslimmernow Fri 04-Jan-13 18:32:50

This happened to us in London a couple of years ago, 5 yo DS wondered off without us realising, the whole street pulled together to help find him, fortunatly turned up safe and sound but worst 5 minutes of my life. Cant believe the attitude of the shop and some posters on here.

PassionateaboutParenting Fri 04-Jan-13 18:32:53

Am not saying my child is not my responsibility but isn't it basic humanity to help someone find a lost child? 77000 children go missing in the UK every year. Do you even have kids FredFredGeorge?

Lovecat Fri 04-Jan-13 18:33:21

When DD was about 2.5 I lost her in Asda once - was on the corner of an aisle and she was right next to me, I bent down to pick something off the shelf and she must have legged it in the opposite direction because she had vanished from sight in the few seconds it took me to straighten up.

The staff were amazing, they closed the front doors, several ladies ran with me down the aisles all calling DD's name, after a very long 2 minutes she was found at the other end of the store (near the doors - wibble).

She did this once in IKEA too in the restaurant when I was manhandling a tray - more or less the whole restaurant got up to help me, though. sad that the 99p staff/customers were so rude and unbothered. I know that shop too and tbh it doesn't surprise me...

FredFred, you obviously have never lost a child so why exactly are you posting here apart from to prove what a perfect parent you must be? Smugness never appealing. Just a tip smile

porridgewithalmondmilk Fri 04-Jan-13 18:34:10

But, and I am not being judgemental - it's a genuine question - if the doors are locked, so that other customers can't get in/out, that is really putting other customers out. Not so much the coming in (unless there are urgent reasons why someone needed to go in a store grin) but someone could be in a rush/catching a bus or train?

RyleDup Fri 04-Jan-13 18:35:22

Lovely fredfred, just lovely. The customers wouldn't want to be inconvenienced for the sake of a missing child now would they. Far more important to get your 99p goods safely back home after all.

Yes op it is shocking that the staff didn't help you, I hope you get a decent response to your complaint. My dd vanished in tescos once. I took my eyes off her for a split second and she was gone. Fortunately the tescos staff were very quick off the mark and found her within a couple of minutes.

Are those things any good missymoo?

Lovecat Fri 04-Jan-13 18:37:28

ime, Porridge, they don't lock the doors, just close them over so that the child can't run out unattended.

LuluMai Fri 04-Jan-13 18:37:38

That's very mean of them! I'd have helped you search OP!

TheNebulousBoojum Fri 04-Jan-13 18:37:43

I got lost once as a small child of 6, and my dad was overseas on an unaccompanied posting. So my mother turned out the guardhouse, and the barracks and all the available adults in the married quarters and I was found. No one was cross or pointing a finger of blame, they were delighted. Next time it could be their child, and them asking for help. And it would be there in spades.
A child in potential danger should be everyone's concern, and everyone who can should do their best to help them be found safe.
Or you are an absolute shit in my book.

porridgewithalmondmilk Fri 04-Jan-13 18:38:04

Thanks Lovecat - I didn't realise smile

soverylucky Fri 04-Jan-13 18:38:06

The store could have helped more and tbh I am surprised that they didn't. Having said that I worked in retail once and this happened all too often. It has happened to me for a split second too. I made sure it didn't happen again with reins. The store should reflect here on what it did wrong as should all of us parents who have had this happen to us.

PeachesandStrawberry Fri 04-Jan-13 18:39:01


I hope this never happens to you. You need to grow up.


I'm glad you found your son and the people at the store should have helped

Beamur Fri 04-Jan-13 18:39:22

It only takes a second for a child to go out of sight, it's easily done. My DD is very fond of hiding in clothes's a heart freezing moment when you realise your child is out of sight.
I don't know anything about the schemes you mention, but it's a shame that people weren't more helpful.

I lost dd1 (7) at the beach before. I picked up dd2 under my arm and ran, leaving buggy towels etc. not one person stopped to help or ask was I ok and when I finally found her, and we got back, loads of our stuff had been robbed. Hands down the worst day of my life.
Hope you're ok op

5madthings Fri 04-Jan-13 18:39:55

I think they will let customers out but make sure the missing child isn't with them.

Yanbu op it is behind awful when this happens, that sick feeling, its just horrible but normally people are helpful, sorry that wasn't your experience.

I second the little life backpacks they are fab.

Yes they are Ryled DH took DD 5 aisles away from me in the supermarket to test it out and I could hear it fine. It was clear what direction it was coming from too. I put them on my younger DDs velcro on her shoe and my older DDs belt. Well worth the money for peace of mind I think.

KenLeeeeeee Fri 04-Jan-13 18:41:29

When DS1 was 2.5 he legged it away from me in Hammersmith Primark. I ran after him but the little sod bolted through the front doors & went straight towards the busy main road. Thankfully the security guard launched himself after ds & grabbed him before he got to the road. He was very polite & reassuring with me - thank goodness he didn't give me any judgmental lectures as I was already crying my eyes out!

Come to think of it, I don't know of a single parent whose toddler hasn't escaped/gone wandering at least once.

PassionateaboutParenting Fri 04-Jan-13 18:42:03

Child Safe Zones in the UK- do you have them in your borough?

RyleDup Fri 04-Jan-13 18:44:29

Brilliant missy. i was looking at those a few months ago, (when dd went missing in the supermarket) but couldn't decide if they were tat that wouldn't be very loud, or actually something that would be useful. I'll get some then. Thanks for that.

I cant believe how rude and unhelpful they were. This is a child in potential danger-going to stand by and watch them get hurt and lost just because it was someone elses responsibilty to look after them.

Kids bolt, my dd did it to me in soft play once , the place had 2 levels, the baby and toddler zones and then down a big ramp the big climbing frame for older kids, at the age of 18m she disappeared, the staff were amazing. Tannoy, extra people, doors on lock down. She was found climbing into the big area.

harryhausen Fri 04-Jan-13 18:47:59

How horrible for you OP. I have lost my children a few times.

Both times both places couldn't have helped more, including members of the public. The first time my dd was about 2. We were waiting in a queue for the zoo. I said to DH that I was going ahead to the front to see how much annual membership would be. DH thought I had dd. I thought he had her. Unknown to us she'd ran off looking for me, slipped into the zoo itself. Within minutes we had security all on walkie talkies discussing a course of action. She was missing for about 5 mins but it felt like forever. An elderly couple had found her and were bringing her back to the Ticket counter. I couldn't thank them enough. I was really shaken. About 5 years later we lost her in toys r us. She maturely went up to the customer service counter and explained she was lost. All much calmer.

My ds (4) went missing in M&S. He was literally stood by my feet, I stretched up to reach a school shirt down from the top shelf looked down & he was gone hmm. The staff in M&S were great. He was eventually found looking at bras in the underwear dept.

Even with reins, you cannot constantly hold a child for every second - especially if you have other dc's and shopping bags etc.

I wouldn't fail for a second to help someone find a child. It's disgusting that people would prefer to have an 'attitude' towards the parent rather than concern/compassion. What a sad world we must live in hmm

PiccadillyCervix Fri 04-Jan-13 18:49:47

FredFredGeorge Your children are your responsibility, you are not entitled to help, so sorry YABU. Perhaps the store could've assisted you more, but you are wrong to expect the shop to make huge allowances for your inattention.

Are you insane? Even if you think the OP was in the wrong you are not helping her you are helping the lost scared child who could end up in quite a lot of danger. What you said is vile.

If the OP had a car accident would you say as well shouldn't have been texting, I'm not going to hep you or your kids?

You have a moral obligation to help a child.

PassionateaboutParenting Fri 04-Jan-13 18:50:09

Really appreciate the compassionate messages.
The reason I wanted them to shut the doors- was because children could either run out of the store or be smuggled out- in disguise. Kidnappers can quickly change the childs outer clothes to disguise them. And the security didnt know what my son looked like so how could he apprehend someone?

amillionyears Fri 04-Jan-13 18:50:52

Write a letter to the Head Office of the store if you dont get any reply.
You could also take it to the local newspaper if you still are not happy. They would love a story like that.

I dont know if Code Adam is done over here.
I saw the true film about the boy going missing. Truly awful.

RafflesWay Fri 04-Jan-13 18:51:10

Omg how absolutely horrendous for you passionate! I cannot tell you how angry I am at how you were treated in this store- they should hang their heads in total shame. Have these bloody b*******s never heard of poor little Adam West in the USA???

Passionate are you ok honey? The fear you must have felt is unbelievable. How is your ds too? Please keep talking to us as you must be so shook up and by the way DO NOT BLAME YOUSELF!! 2 yr olds are lovable little monsters and can get where water can't at times. I am still livid at how you were treated. Sending you some thanks and a very large glass of wine

smugmumofboys Fri 04-Jan-13 18:51:46

How horrible for you OP. Both of mine have bolted and it's heartstopping. Fortunately, both found pretty quickly.

My worst experience was in the Railway Museum in York when DS1 got separated from us and within a moment was across the other side of one of the big rooms. I could see him almost instantly, but what upset me was that as he stood there (about 4 years old), sobbing and saying 'Mummy', as he realized he'd 'lost' us, crowds of people, including other parents with children walked past him. And not one of the fuckers stopped to ask him if he was OK.

skratta Fri 04-Jan-13 18:52:17

I remember being in a large IKEA, and a child got lost. They made sure only adults got out, or accompanied children, and they had staff helping.

They amde an announcement- something like 'Unfortunately, a small child has got lost in the store. If you see an unaccompanied blonde boy, who appears to be between the ages of two and three, or similar, with a blue and white striped top (I can't remember the actual colours, I know it was striped for some reason, but made up the colours), please contact security' It was, for losing children, a long time- I think it was roughly twenty minutes, but it must have seemed to be hours for the child's mother. Someone discovered him under a sofa! It was quite a high up sofa, and he was flat underneath with a small toy turtle he'd been holding when he ran off!

Every toddler or child must wonder off at least some point- even if it was for a few seconds and the parent noticed and dived at them or something.

Booyhoo Fri 04-Jan-13 18:53:14

wow! i am shocked that they didn't shut teh door straight away! why on earth not? if for no other reason than their name would be all over the paper if the child wnet missing from their store and they'd done nothing!

AmberLeaf Fri 04-Jan-13 18:54:13

Really scary and the security guards response was rude and unhelpful.

I do however recommend you buy some wrist reins.

I used them with my youngest as he was a bolter.

amillionyears Fri 04-Jan-13 18:54:21

I lost one of my sons like you did, in a theme park place.
And there were nine adults, and 4 or 5 children between us.
I think that was our problem.
We all thought he was with one of the other adults.

The theme park place were getting geared up to shut the place down. We found him about 5 minutes later, after we all spread out and looked for him.
It is an awful feeling.

We 'lost' my DD in a maze at LegoLand when she was about 5yo.
Not the same situation as a shop- they can have a bit more freedom, but she was with DS who slipped through the hedge.
We went round and round, climbed up the 'tower'.
We couldn't shout because the music was so flipping loud.
I went out to get a member of staff to put the music off (thinking-she won't have left with anyone, she knows not to)
She was sitting outside with a girl a bit older than her. She'd found an older child to ask (her parents were with her) but stayed at the maze enterance.

I was so relieved. I know how you felt at that moment Passionate. The world just stops shock

RyleDup I would definitely recommend them. I couldn't hear it from 6 aisles away but I can hear much further if we are outdoors in the park or something (I have tested extensively grin ).

bamboobutton Fri 04-Jan-13 18:57:52

What a stupid comment, fredfredgoerge. Should the police tell parents 'tough shit' if they report a child missing? Should the firebrigade tell people to bog off if their house catches fire? Should the ambulances tell people to get stuffed if the have a crash?

glad everything turned out well, OP.

TinyDancingHoofer Fri 04-Jan-13 18:59:37

I don't think shops are allowed to lock doors with people inside. But he should have said he would watch the door for you.

Frostyfoxy Fri 04-Jan-13 19:00:15

I lost my ds just before Christmas in Tesco's. He is 7 and has autism. He is just starting to show some independence and he wanted to get some chocolate mousse. I took my eye off the ball (I know, I know) and he was gone.

But the staff in the shop were brilliant! No sooner had I reported him missing, they closed the shop - no-one could leave and had a team looking for him withinin seconds. They found him within a couple of minutes but his autism made it impossible for them to talk to him or bring him to me so they called me at the security desk to come to them - however when the manager and I got to where they said they were there was no-one there!! My ds had run away and the security team just followed him wherever he went and I had to follow them!!

I have nothing but praise for the Tesco team. And I will NOT make that mistake again!!

SaraBellumHertz Fri 04-Jan-13 19:01:38

fredfredGeorge that is one if the shittiest posts I've read on MN and god kind there have been a few recently

A parent not "entitled" to help?! FFS what about the poor terrified child.

Maryz Fri 04-Jan-13 19:01:51

<adds FredFredGeorge to shit list hmm>

I don't believe any parent gets all their children to adulthood without one heart stopping moment, and any parent deserves sympathy and help in a situation like this ffs.

JustFabulous Fri 04-Jan-13 19:03:30

I lost my son in ToysRUs, I told a staff member. He ignored me and walked off.

I helped a grandma look for and found her grandson in the same shop. I was in tears when we found him. No way would I left her to look alone for him once I knew he was missing. Staff not interested when I told them.

pigletmania Fri 04-Jan-13 19:04:04

Fredfredgerge you highlight all that is wrong with society today. Yes op could have been more careful but when something like that happens t everyone's responsibility to help. Shame on you!

JustFabulous Fri 04-Jan-13 19:05:49

When my 5 year old missed daddy go into the shop I was waiting in with DS1 and DD the staff were immediately on the ball and realised what had happened and looked after them both while DH and I searched the shopping centre for DS2. I was yelling his name and not a single person stopped to help. I just got a lot of hmm looks.

milf90 Fri 04-Jan-13 19:06:31

i will suggest reigns too, they are a life saver! i have 2 backpack style ones, ones a dinosaur and the other batman wings. the kids love them :D the batman ones were only a couple of quid off ebay too. have a look x

Nuttyprofessor Fri 04-Jan-13 19:06:42

That is awful. I have been in charge of health and safety policies in many stores and it is usual to have a lost child policy, which involves covering all exits, not alllowing anyone to leave, allerting all staff, a search plan starting with areas of danger and time limits on contacting police.

I would contact their head office and ask what their procedures are.

I would use reins.

Glad he was ok

amillionyears Fri 04-Jan-13 19:07:27

Fredfredgeorge seems to have been reasonable and helpful on other threads as far as I can see.
So know idea why he/she said what they said.
Ironically some of the help was about weaning babies.
I didnt know help for other peoples little kids should stop at 2 years old.

FlipFlopFloss Fri 04-Jan-13 19:07:39

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SoupDragon Fri 04-Jan-13 19:08:26

Have these bloody b*******s never heard of poor little Adam West in the USA???

Why should they have heard of him? I haven't.
I lost DD (6) in the shop at the Paralympics. Security were fabulous and looked for her both on the shop floor and via CCTV and watched at the doors. It was their policy not to announce it over the PA system for children under 12. There was no way they could have shut the doors TBH.

socharlotte Fri 04-Jan-13 19:10:05

When DS1 was about 2.5 we lost him [ in this 'honey i shrunk the kids' tplayground at Disney studio
He just ran behind some thiong, I was only a few yards behind him, but he was gone! The staff said they would watch the entrance and it seemedlike an eternity til I saw a dad with him on his hip helping him looking for us.
The first time it happens it is the worst feeling ever.After several children it has inevitably happened a few more times and you don't worry as much.But the first time the panic is overwelming and the rest of your life without them flashes before your eyes!

directoroflegacy Fri 04-Jan-13 19:10:39

This happened in an Asda - security manned the entrance/exit at the front- checking people who were leaving and they also had somebody at a smaller door at the back.
Then staff 'swept' thru the store in a line so child couldn't be missed and continuous announcements over the tannoy giving a description.
Was v impressed by this - they must practise??
Happy ending too!!!!

TheNebulousBoojum Fri 04-Jan-13 19:10:43

FredFredGeorge, are you still a bloke with a DD of around 16 months?
Have you lost her yet? Has she had a serious accident or an illness yet?
All these things are potentially waiting for you and your family in the future, and there will be a time when you stand there, frozen and disbelieving and relying on the kindness of strangers. And you won't feel smug or complacent. You will be terrified.

PassionateaboutParenting Fri 04-Jan-13 19:10:48

True that... parenting comes with many heart-stopping moments....

socharlotte Fri 04-Jan-13 19:10:54

[[ this playground]]

Mrsrudolphduvall Fri 04-Jan-13 19:11:52

It's an awful feeling.
We lost ds in a motorway service station when he was about 4.
Worst moment of my life.

I was hoping fredfredgeorge was a first time poster but sadly not.

AmberLeaf Fri 04-Jan-13 19:12:14

The Asda way sounds brilliant.

fedupofnamechanging Fri 04-Jan-13 19:15:12

fredfredgeorge the safety and wellbeing of children is everyone's responsibility. That was a really, really shitty thing you said there and i hope that one day you feel the fear that the OP must have experienced and develop some empathy!

TheNebulousBoojum Fri 04-Jan-13 19:17:09

He's not a first time poster, but his parenting experience is limited to what he knows so far. Unfortunately he doesn't seem to realise it.
There will be situations in the future that challenge him to the core, despite planning and research and a confidence that every danger can be circumnavigated with enough analysis.
Let's hope that he meets with more kindness and support then than he's shown on the thread.

FredFredGeorge Fri 04-Jan-13 19:20:30

Everyone should help, but deciding the person with the problem is entitled to help and the store should close and everyone drop what they are doing to do it is a very different thing.

"Oh shit I've lost my toddler." Security guard and staff all run off looking - accomplice fills pockets with all the expensive stuff while the security guards are distracted, walking out when the doors are re-opened (maybe not in a 99p shop but really their margins are small enough that any loss hurts - which is why it's economic to employ a security guard)

If you go into the wild in much of the world and need rescuing, you're billed the cost of the rescue because of your inattention - reasonable, here we have the store expected to absorb the cost of the inattention - and yes it's perfectly common kids run off etc. but that also means it's perfectly common that they're found again.

And yes you are entitled to the police helping - it's part of their job, and it's not unreasonable to expect people to help. It is unreasonable to feel entitled to it.

That was an awful way for them to handle it, OP. You must have been terrified. That heart-in-your-stomach feeling when you lose a child in a busy place is one of the worst feelings. sad I have only experienced it once when I lost my DS at 18 months in a big pet superstore. He was only missing for about a minute and I didn't alert the staff, just started shouting his name like a lunatic loudly and dashing around like a lunatic looking for him and found him hiding behind one of those giant bags of dog food, but if I had alerted the staff and they had reacted like the 99p people I would have been livid. I agree that it is everyone's responsibility to ensure the safety of a child. They are so quick and sometimes so unpredictable and as parents we are only human.

Maryz Fri 04-Jan-13 19:22:31

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pigletmania Fri 04-Jan-13 19:24:37

Fredfredgeirge I would just shut the hell up if I were you, sometimes it's best not to say anything at all. Yes it is stores responsibility if a child goesx missing on their premises, like other stores tey should have a missing child policy. Think James Bulger

amillionyears Fri 04-Jan-13 19:25:20

What is going to happen FredFredGeorge if you lose your child on a beach.
Suddenly you cannot see them for sand.
Suddenly everyone elses child looks like yours.
Are you goung to search the entire beach by yourself, and really really fast....

Not police around on a beach.
May be lifeguaurds ,maybe not.
May be too late....

Sirzy Fri 04-Jan-13 19:25:36

Unbelievable FredFred. The sad thing is people really do think like that, and can't think beyond their own nose.

I remember when I was young and a child wandered off on the beach my parents along with most other people on the beach put their day on hold to hunt for the child. surely that is what any caring person would do?

I am paranoid about keeping hold of DS when out, but I still don't for a second think that doesn't mean that one day it could be me in a panic because he was wandered off. It takes seconds.

pigletmania Fri 04-Jan-13 19:26:55

The way you were treated in Poundshop was appealling ad I would lodge a complaint with the head office and ask if they have a missing child policy and what is it

PassionateaboutParenting Fri 04-Jan-13 19:28:50

No ofcourse I shouldn't feel entitled to help.. with people like FredFredGeorge about.....
Everyone should be attending to business.... meeting the profit margins, economics is the only thing that counts if you are a closed-minded, self-absorbed capitalist.
Compassion doesnt keep the bank-balance in your fanvour- so why invest in it?
Are you sure you weren't a child smuggler in another life- I heard it pays dividends...

(I've written this before but)
Years ago in Boots (they had two doors, massive glass doors and automatic ones- 2 seperate enterances)
A lady stopped at the perfume counter with a pram. I was at the till, didn't really register her until the cry.
OMG the noise this woman made still breaks my heart.
Someone quietly wheeled off with her pram.

The staff were bloody fantastic. Closed the doors and checked every person with a pram. The knapper had gone towards the back of the shop (to the other door) calmly walked off.

That's how to handle a situation like this.
Not what the OP was faced with.

RyleDup Fri 04-Jan-13 19:30:30

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

PassionateaboutParenting Fri 04-Jan-13 19:30:35

It was 99p store- lodged a complaint and asked about their store policy

PiccadillyCervix Fri 04-Jan-13 19:31:08

oh Fred, and bless your little heart. I expect you will remember this one day. and feel a tit.

PiccadillyCervix Fri 04-Jan-13 19:32:43

what happened to the baby 70.?

pigletmania Fri 04-Jan-13 19:32:57

70 lisa that is what ALL stores should do, was it a happy ending

JustFabulous Fri 04-Jan-13 19:33:25

""Oh shit I've lost my toddler." Security guard and staff all run off looking - accomplice fills pockets with all the expensive stuff while the security guards are distracted, walking out when the doors are re-opened (maybe not in a 99p shop but really their margins are small enough that any loss hurts - which is why it's economic to employ a security guard)."

What a sad world we are in if people put profits before the safety of a child.

TheNebulousBoojum Fri 04-Jan-13 19:34:42

Still, FredFredGeorge?
Remember your arrogance here when karma bites you in the arse.

pigletmania Fri 04-Jan-13 19:34:58

So Fred profit profit profit against the life of a child, you disgust me

PiccadillyCervix Fri 04-Jan-13 19:36:57

I was in a restaurant when dd 1years old, had a seizure. I was screaming for help. Everyone just ignored me including staff. I was begging for someone to call for help . guess I was feeling entitled though hmm

LouisWalshsChristmasCloset Fri 04-Jan-13 19:37:48

Just popped on to say to the op i'm glad your little one is safe. It only takes a split second to be in a situation like that and YANBU. The shop shoud have done more.

And fred you sound like an utter moron. Just stop.

TheNebulousBoojum Fri 04-Jan-13 19:38:32

He won't realise how hurtful his comments are until he is the adult in question.
If he remembers.

EnjoyResponsibly Fri 04-Jan-13 19:40:43

Who hasn't been in this situation? It takes only one second and they're gone like smoke.

Surely every adult at that point jumps into action. They certainly did in Sainsbury when it happened to me and DS.

OP I'd give your PCSO a little call and have them chat to the £ shop about their social responsibility. Your local paper might like a tip too.

And as for Fred, you've made my Cock Of The Day list. Jolly well done!

LouisWalshsChristmasCloset Fri 04-Jan-13 19:41:20

piccadilly How dare you expect help. For all the restaurant knew you were just creating a rouse to not pay the bill. hmm

cocoachannel Fri 04-Jan-13 19:42:11

You poor thing - very, very scary.

Yes I hope 99p change their policy. We have one here and I have a very wriggly toddler.

Hope you are okay OP and recovered from the panic. wine this evening!

TheNebulousBoojum Fri 04-Jan-13 19:42:11

'Who hasn't been in this situation?'

FredFredGeorge. Yet.

racingheart Fri 04-Jan-13 19:44:21

FredFred it is society's responsibility to care for the young - if that society is worth living in. And it was the child, not the mother, who is entitled to adult support when he goes missing. Of course a child is entitled to appropriate care and consideration. The mother requested help. She deserved help.

OP - I'd make a huge fuss about this. It should be store policy for the doors to be closed.

I lost my nephew once, before I was a mum. His mum was buying a train ticket at a machine in waterloo. I was holding his hand and a heavy suitcase. I let go to put the suitcase down and then turned around to transfer him to my other hand. He was nowhere to be seen. He'd slipped onto an escalator, and was shorter than the handrail, so invisible. Luckily the escalator was going the wrong way, so he was having fun climbing up descending stairs, and I grabbed him. But my heart skipped a beat.

You were not at fault. 99p store policy was.

cocoachannel Fri 04-Jan-13 19:44:23

Piccadilly - that is awful. People never cease to amaze. I hope your DD was Okayama.

bamboobutton Fri 04-Jan-13 19:45:42

I think this must be [[ fredfredgeorge]]

Varya Fri 04-Jan-13 19:45:42

Use reins with my twins. Awful when your child goes missing XXX

cocoachannel Fri 04-Jan-13 19:46:00

Ops. Predictive text. Clearly I hope she was 'okay', not a Japanese city.

bamboobutton Fri 04-Jan-13 19:46:58

Bollocks try again

Reallyusefulengine Fri 04-Jan-13 19:47:16

You poor woman. I lost one of my dc in M&S Richmond and they were amazing. They put security on the door to make sure no small person left the store with or without a person - they were really sharp with passing in her description. I will love them forever. DD found licking greeting cards, thank God.

I would find out the head office address and write to the MD and suggest they brief their security staff in how to deal with list children. What the hell else are they doing?

Sirzy Fri 04-Jan-13 19:47:30

Its not just societies responsibility to care for the young, its societies responsibility to care for each other. It never fails to amaze me how many people will walk past and leave others struggling whether it is something big like a missing child or someone having a heart attack or something little like holding a door or helping carry a pram downstairs.

They found the person with the baby Piccadily- from what I know, the mum had stopped at the perfume counter (it was busy) As I said I saw her standing there but didn't pay attention IYSWIM.
Someone got between her and the pram and sidled off with it.
Then they walked off calmly (you can imagine there's lots of prams in Boots).

They were headed for the exit.

Poor mum probably had a bit of Baby Brain, but her pram was right beside her when I saw her. And people do come up and move prams and trolleys to get to what they want.

flow4 Fri 04-Jan-13 19:48:30

An acquaintance told me about something that apparently happened when she was in Meadowhall, one of the UK's biggest shopping centres... I have never been quite sure whether it is in fact an urban myth, because it is so blood-chillingly scary...

She was shopping... An alarm sounded and all the (many) external doors/exits to the shopping centre were shut, and there was a 'missing child' announcement over the PA... The centre's security staff carried out a systematic search... After 5-10 mins, the missing child was found - a little girl of about 2 - in the men's toilets with a man - in new clothes and with all her hair shaved off. shock

Even if this is just a story, this is why everyone needs to help look for any missing small child.

fedupofnamechanging Fri 04-Jan-13 19:50:39

I have heard of similar flow. I really hope it's an urban myth, but it is entirely possible for such a thing to happen.

LouisWalshsChristmasCloset Fri 04-Jan-13 19:51:34

flow shock

So glad you're all ok.

My mum left me in Boots by accident when I was 10 days old. Fortunately I was right where she left me but she says it was the worst feeling of her life. I can well imagine.

PiccadillyCervix I worked at a, erm, very big pet store as a teenager and someone had a seizure in an aisle near the tills. I didn't stop to think - I dropped everything and ran for the phone to dial 999 while a colleague went to his aid. When I got back to the till I got thoroughly castigated by a customer for holding them up. Nice hmm

Wow I'm glad you found your little one OP.
I've always been paranoid about this happening to me when mine were little.
I was in WalMart when a code Adam was announced, Al the doors went on lockdown, all staff dropped what they were doing (I was in the baby dept) and systematically swept every isle looking for the child. Amazing it was. The child turned up a few minutes later somewhere else in the store and all door unlocked and went back to normal.
I'm pretty disgusted that the security guard wouldn't man the door to search for the child trying to get out or make sure he wasn't leaving with someone else once you had told him he was missing, and the staff could easily have put out an announcement so other shoppers could let you know where he was.

Booyhoo Fri 04-Jan-13 19:59:53

flow that is indeed an urban myth. the age of child and the shopping centre change according to where you live but i have heard that it has happened in 3 different shopping centres near me. the police actually issued a statement following one of the stories doing the rounds on FB and people getting predictably hysterical over it.

pigletmania Fri 04-Jan-13 20:00:23

Flow that is so scary that is why it is EVERYONES responsibility to look out for yiung children on their own, withut an adult.Thinking of poor APril Jones. My dd 5 s Autstic and used to scream I want my mummy I want my mummy if she was having a mtdwn or a ad day so blush as people used to look at us

pigletmania Fri 04-Jan-13 20:02:00

Commandersheooard that might have been fred

flow4 Fri 04-Jan-13 20:06:41

I thought it probably was, Booy... But it still resonates and means I would never resent being 'delayed' by a search for a lost child... For me, the story is like one of those bad dreams you have about someone you love... You wake up and know it was just a dream, but you still have to 'phone the person just in case! blush

Bobyan Fri 04-Jan-13 20:08:45

I think you should give your local paper a call OP and see if they are interested, even if its just to embarrass the store.

BiteTheTopsOffIcedGems Fri 04-Jan-13 20:10:05

FredFredGeorge I would say I hope you know what it feels like to have your child hold your hand one minute then not be there the next, even if you find them safely 2 minutes later, but I wouldn't wish that feeling on my worst enemy.

When my daughter did a runner in Primark the security guard was brilliant, he told me a good tip. If you have a child that likes to run away take a photo of them if you are going somewhere busy as you may panic and forget what they are wearing, how you did hairstyles that day etc.

RyleDup Fri 04-Jan-13 20:13:28

Even though its a myth flow its entirely plausible that something along those lines could happen.

Booyhoo Fri 04-Jan-13 20:13:37

yes, and even if that one is urban myth, it is entirely possible and why we should all take a few minutes whenever someone vulnerable is missing.

i was in asda yesterday and say a toddler, she looked around 2ish, swinging on the gate things that are at each end of the alcohol aisle. there were no adults around her so i waited about 30 seconds to see if anyone came for her but they didn't. i heard 2 women talking in a nearby aisle and popped round to ask if they had lost a little girl and they said no so i asked the little girl where mummy or daddy was and she said "away" but didn't seem to indicate where then from about 3 aisles away i head a loud but quite bored sounding "she's with me" i peeked round and there was a woman who had stuck her head out of the end of the clothing aisle, no concern or anything, just a smile and carried on looking at whatever she was holding in her hand. made no attempt to come and get the little girl. i was quite shocked tbh. that girl could have toddled off out through the doors!

lifeintheolddogyet Fri 04-Jan-13 20:18:10

I've lived in East London a long time now and you can get some proper hard faced judgy people round here. I do like living here but I've noticed that, compared to where my DM lives for example, people feel free to pass comment on each other a lot, for better or worse.

Having said that, this happened to me in Asda in Leyton when my DS1 was a lot younger. I was starting to get frantic when some of the lovely ladies who work there scooped him up at the end of an aisle. I was so, so grateful and they were lovely.

That guard sounds awful. I'd write to head office and find out what their policy is.

Gillyweed001 Fri 04-Jan-13 20:18:57

Glad DC was found OP. I've just said to DH that when DS is older, I want him on reins. I can't imagine how you felt!

GregBishopsBottomBitch Fri 04-Jan-13 20:19:18

I had my DD go missing twice, it felt like my heart had stopped twice.

Also, Kids are smart, my older brother, before i was born, had scaled the 6 foot garden wall with his little car and was gone. If they want to go, they bloody will.

weegiemum Fri 04-Jan-13 20:25:23

I lost my dd1 in ikea once. Told the staff, a call went out which we heard "code 100 lighting" and she was found in minutes by the many staff who turned up. She was with dh when staff found her, they asked me to identify both dd1 and dh before I could talk to them. I'm overwhelmingly greatful to them, it was so professional and urgent. She'd seen some pretty lights she liked and toddled off to look (she was 4). Now she's 12 she still sticks with me, especially in ikea!!

I work in a shop, a two floored home wears shop to be exact and on three occasions I have had children come to me asking where there mummy is. I have always found mummy, however I would never ever judge anyone who's child had wondered off.

There was one occasion where a newly parented couple had 'forgot' their pram. Que frantic parents and me saying are you looking for this > points to pram. Pram never left my sight and I put a middle aged couple I was serving in their place grin. --Thank you mumsnet

PiccadillyCervix Fri 04-Jan-13 20:25:56

DD was fine- it was a febrile seizure, I had no idea about them (google it as it's worth knowing about them if you don't already) and I genuinely thought dd was dying. It was like being in a bad dream, don't know whats wrong with my baby and people are just not helping. If I were religous I would think it was a bit of divine intervention but a woman walked in while I was shrieking from outside who was a first responder and helped me and finally a guy on the other side o the place decided to call the emergency services for us.

As it turns out we didn't pay the bill... grin got a bit confused when the ambulence finally tunred up and we had to go to hospital. Didn't go back to pay or to eat there ever again after the way the staff treated us though.

commander I don't think I could have been polite to that customer in those circumstances really! It certainly would have meant somethign to the customer you helped though

nellyjelly Fri 04-Jan-13 20:28:02

My mum left my baby brother in his pram outside a shop and went home with out him!

This was the 70s and people left babies outside shops it seems. Just theybusually remembered to collect them.

Don't worry OP, many of us have had close shaves. Easily done.

pigletmania Fri 04-Jan-13 20:28:25

Shocking booyhoo I think she would be very concerned if someone had walked off Wth her child

WeAreEternal Fri 04-Jan-13 20:34:45

When DS was around three I lost him in asda. He was right next to me and then a split second later he had vanished, I ran down the isle shouting his name and a member of staff heard me and came over all I said was "I can't find my son" and she shouted over to another member of staff on a till who, while in the middle of serving somebody jumped up and ran off.
Immediately they were anouncing a code whatever and a lot of the staff stopped what they were doing and ran to the CS desk, they asked for a description and all went off like they knew exactly what they had to do,, within minutes they were sending messages over the tannoy alerting costumers that a child was missing, they had staff blocking exists and searching the toilets and they had split up into teams to do an isle by isle 'sweep' of the store.
I was frantic but they were absoloutly fantastic and DS was found after about 20 minutes sitting under a shelf in the electrical area watching finding nemo on 15 tvs, he had actually pushed some products across to make himself a little seat on the bottom shelf!
I was so impressed with the staff and so thankful to them.

I don't understand why all stores don't have specific measures set out to deal with a lost child in the store.

AlwaysHoldingOnToStarbug Fri 04-Jan-13 20:49:11

I lost Ds2 in M&S when he was younger. He's autistic and at the time was non-verbal. I have never been so terrified in my life. Security were bloody brilliant, the shop security put a call out and the shopping centre security guys all rushed in to the store too. He was found hanging out near the checkout in the food court.

I lost ds5 twice in one day embarrassingly a couple of weeks ago. First time in Boots and one of the ladies was retracing his steps and we rushed back and found him. Then in Asda and a shopper took him to customer services who put a call out for me. No judgment from anyone and not
Would I ever judge a mum who had lost their child, a momentary glance away and they can be gone so quickly.

BoffinMum Fri 04-Jan-13 20:54:58

I'm a mother of four, pretty attentive by anyone's standards, and also trained to keep an eye on 30 children at a time (teacher). I also have been known to use reins for toddlers and so on. However even I have managed to have small people slip away from my grasp in shops. I would even go further and say that it is nigh on impossible to keep them by your side at all times for the entire duration of parenthood, as they appear to be hard wired to explore, choosing the exact moment when you are preoccupied lifting something off a shelf or whatever to make their escape. And shops are designed to be eye catching and busy places, which makes the shepherding problem more pronounced.

Given that this is a problem for the entire population, and that we have all probably been separated from our parents in this way in shops during childhood, can I suggest we all work together to make sure that we round up lost children, instead of treating it as a parenting defect or a shoplifting tactic?

lovelyladuree Fri 04-Jan-13 20:55:09

It just goes to show how rough Leytonstone is if the 99p shop has a security guard. Who is there, by the way, to stop people stealing armfuls of stuff, not to find lost children. That isn't part of his remit. But minding your children is your job, no-one else's. So YABVU.

PiccadillyCervix Fri 04-Jan-13 20:58:50

Actually security guards are often employed for several reasons. One to provide a "presence" do people don't choose to shoplift. And two to help in case of emergency.

Sirzy Fri 04-Jan-13 20:59:43

It might not be part of his remit as a security guard (although is part of his job not to keep shoppers safe?) but surely its in his remit as a human?

FanFuckingTastic Fri 04-Jan-13 21:02:03

Mine has run several times, been lost four times.

I use a wrist strap now, and will continue to until I know she won't run. The panic never hits until you see them, the whole time you are running (and I'm disabled and struggle to walk) calling their name, asking faces if they've seen a little girl. And that moment you see them, it's like waves breaking on the shore, every single emotion you held back just comes out.

She's on watch at school as a hider. She'll creep into the bushes and ignore her name being called. She'll also run off if you upset her. I was known to leave the school premises as a little one if I was upset, so I wouldn't put it past her.

I have had the police involved once in the town centre. They both bolted in the shop, one four year old on purpose, and the six year old trying to help. Except the four year old ran out the shop and I was at the entrance waiting. Grabbed at her, then heard the panicked screaming of my six year old and turned to call his name, and she was gone. Had to get him and call 999 as she has no danger awareness and this time I really couldn't run. She just thought the whole thing was a jolly jape, and no one around her stepped in, they could have saved the police a whole lot of trouble.

Then the time she got out the house in the night, to go on a jaunt, she managed to circumnavigate two locks to get out, and one turned door handle that was above her high. She was brought back by the police after knocking on a neighbour's door. I don't know if I have recovered from the shock months later. I thought it was her, playing the lets knock and see mummy go answer the door game, went in her room and the bed was empty. Little toerag thinks I, look in boys room and bathroom - nothing - start to panic as door knocks. Rush though front room all lit up and kitchen to the door, I'm crying now typing it, so I guess you can see, that they are precious and a wrist strap can be a life save. And some of them need alarms, extra locks, hidden keys, and a wrist strap, and still manage to scare the life out of you.

I am actually scared to leave the house alone with her. She's four and a half.

5madthings Fri 04-Jan-13 21:02:40

What a surprise lovelyladutree making yet another rude and I'll thought out comment. Pretty sure a security guard isnt just there to stop thieves.

HollaAtMeBaby Fri 04-Jan-13 21:07:51

Think the flaming/stalking of other posts/name calling and abuse directed at fredfredgeorge is somewhat OTT/unnecessary but it's an emotive topic and the shop absolutely should have helped you, Passionate. 77,000 missing children a year in the UK sounds like an awful lot - where did you get that figure?

I thought Adam West was Batman's real name confused - off to google...

OliviaPeaceOnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 04-Jan-13 21:09:06

Evening all
Sorry about your fright OP, it happened to me with my DS in a carpark. it's horrific.
Remember folks AIBU is not fight club. Just saying.

RyleDup Fri 04-Jan-13 21:10:16

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

NeverWinsMNComps Fri 04-Jan-13 21:11:39

Although the example Flow gave is an urban legend, the reason Asda as well as other big shops in the states implemented "Code Adam" isn't actually because kids frequently get lost in shops. It's because (like in the case of Adam Walsh ) busy shops are an easy environment for a kidnapper to snatch a child and escape undetected. The fact that the security guard and other shoppers were unconcerned (because, after all, who hasn't lost a child at some point) is why they brought the program into effect. Because there's a chance that a parent hasn't just "been inattentive", but some bastard has snatched the child!

Perhaps it isn't officially in the security guard's remit, but if the OP's child had been snatched, I wouldn't fancy his chances at keeping his job.

directoroflegacy Fri 04-Jan-13 21:12:43

Have googled Code Adam as so that is why Asda are so good in situations like these-Asda owned by Wal-Mart where Adam West went missing from (involving another security guard!)

sausagesandwich34 Fri 04-Jan-13 21:13:33

if this happens at my work we don't close the store but there will be a member of staff on every door and tannoy calls go out immeadiately telling both staff and customers that there is a lost child in store

quite often they are then reunited with the parent and the parent yells at them for running off hmm

lifeintheolddogyet Fri 04-Jan-13 21:15:18

It just goes to show how rough Leytonstone is if the 99p shop has a security guard.

I'll have you know my DM lives in a vary naice town and the Primark there has a security guard. Just saying, dear.

RafflesWay Fri 04-Jan-13 21:15:24

Nice to see Soup that you feel policies come before missing children! At least I am really pleased your dd was safe and sound - many children aren't! Sorry but the Adam West case has been extremely well documented And televised during the past 30 yrs - absolutely horrific - but even if people haven't heard of it, it doesnt take a brain of Britain to work out what COULD happen.
Surely OP deserves support??? Personally I think ANYONE who refuses to help in a situation such as this - well let's just say words fail me! As a human being and a mum policies would be the last thing on my mind. Amazing how some stores obviously do adopt humanitarian procedures.

NeverWinsMNComps Fri 04-Jan-13 21:15:26

Adam West = Batman

Adam Walsh= Code Adam.

pigletmania Fri 04-Jan-13 21:16:31

Ryledup my thoughts exactly. Shops have a moral responsibility. Lovelylaydee you wuld not be sriuting such rubbish if that was your child going missing, you would want everyone to do all that tey could to find them. Never say it could never happen to &#375;ou because I could

RafflesWay Fri 04-Jan-13 21:16:51

Sorry flaming autocorrect again- should be WALSH of course.

socharlotte Fri 04-Jan-13 21:20:32

Naice towns don't have a Primark! grin

yellowsnownoteatwillyou Fri 04-Jan-13 21:22:04

was the store in a shopping centre or on a high street?

when I worked in security in a shopping centre I put a lost child procedure in place that is now used in many centres, it is of course the parents responsibility but children can wander off, and the security officer should have at least stood by the door and not let any children matching your child's description walk out. it is in retail officers training. in Scotland anyway.

YuleBritannia Fri 04-Jan-13 21:25:18

I've never lost one of my DCs but I do remember being in a Homebase and a child of about don't know really 3 or 4 came towards me in an aisle calling, "Mummy, Mummy!" I asked her if she were lost and she just said that she was looking for her mummy. I took her hand, saying something like,"Let's go and find someone to help." I was walking toward Customer Services when a woman touched me on the shoulder .........

I don't think she thought it really but she could have thought that I was walking out of the shop with her daughter. I'd do it again though.

lifeintheolddogyet Fri 04-Jan-13 21:27:35


This naice town has one, small, <whispers> pedestrian precinct.

pixwix Fri 04-Jan-13 21:29:34

Bloody hell - it happened to me once blush I was the queen of reins, distraction, engaging children in shopping, hand holding etc. Then one day, I popped into a toy shop, let go of ds1's hand to look at a toy, got reading the blurb on the back, thought ds1 was with me - looked up, and he wasn't!

I was just about to go "ARRGHHHH! HELP!" when this security guard appeared. It was a shop in a shopping mall, and in the few seconds I took my eyes off ds1 (then 2) he picked up a skateboard from a shelf, and hoofed it off down the mall, perched aboard on his bottom, pushing madly!!

The lovely security guard had ds1 tucked under one arm, and the skateboard under another.. I was beside myself, but the security guard was fine!

It only happened once - he's 15 now, and 5ft 10 - but I still shudder.....

edam Fri 04-Jan-13 21:31:20

yellow, every parent can identify with that heart-stopping moment when you turn round and your child isn't there (or, if you are very lucky, you think they aren't there but they are. after all). Everyone apart from the amazingly arrogant who have yet to learn that children throw curveballs and there are no such things as perfect parents, that is. And they will learn, eventually.

It is the duty of every decent person to help people in trouble, especially the really vulnerable such as children. (You don't even have to be decent, even barely adequate human beings know full well you should help children who at risk or in danger.)

I'm glad you are complaining to the shop - they really need to think about their attitude here, before something goes badly wrong. DO contact your local paper and your PCSO.

Hope you've had plenty of hot sweet tea and calmed down now. smile

SoupDragon Fri 04-Jan-13 21:33:48

Nice to see Soup that you feel policies come before missing children!

WTF are you wittering on about?

FlibberdeGibbet Fri 04-Jan-13 21:38:32

I lost DD (3) at a Centreparcs in Holland once. The staff were brill; locked down the whole site, which must have caused chaos, as it was Saturday changeover day. She was found after about half an hour, brought back by a lovely Dutch teenage boy who had found her happily playing in a playground about 10 mins walk from where we had lost her.

Horrible feeling, especially as there was a huge lake outside, and I was convinced she had fallen in.

edam Fri 04-Jan-13 21:38:34

Fanfuckingtastic, I once had the pleasure of going to the theatre with a bolter (my niece's friend). My sister mentioned in a slightly scared way that when they collected the little girl, the parents had said she tended to run off... blimey, I have never seen such a talented escape artist. There were three adults and three children and bloody hell, we were lucky not to lose her. Even when two of us took them to the loo, my niece (who caught on and thought it was hilarious to join in) and her friend managed to wriggle under the cubicles and slip past the TWO supervising adults (I swear that child is half-octopus, she could not possibly have squeezed past me. Only she did.)

I was exhausted after only a couple of hours in her company with two other adults, goodness only knows how you feel - I bow down to you!

yellowsnownoteatwillyou Fri 04-Jan-13 21:39:09

can I also add to people saying it's not in the security guards remit, first role is to deter theft, then General health and safety procedures. but in retail security even if you are monitoring a shop lifter a lost child becomes top priority.

I have been on both sides and I wouldn't wish it on anybody.

can I just say, I wasn't saying it was ops fault, just that obviously you try to keep them safe but children leg it all the time.

edam Fri 04-Jan-13 21:40:36

(oops just realised my first post started with 'yellow' when it should have been addressed to passionate, the OP. As you were.)

yellowsnownoteatwillyou Fri 04-Jan-13 21:41:47


notengodinero Fri 04-Jan-13 21:43:53

How completely horrible for you OP. I would have been STEAMING at the security guard! Even letting go of your childs hand for a second to get your wallet out can be enough time for the little buggers to wander off and nearly cause you a heart attack.

I lost DS at an event in a really busy park once and it was terrifying. Luckily the security guard there was trained to deal with this type of this rather than being a judgemental fuckwit.

BTW, DH got a book for Xmas called Shit London. It's full of photos of, well, shit things in London. The Leytonstone 99p store is in there, I kid you not! grin

notengodinero Fri 04-Jan-13 21:45:46

PS I love my (not too far away from Leytonstone) 99p store, it;s the only place I can plain bitesized Wheetabix for DS, in case anyone thinks I'm being mean and snobby...

edam Fri 04-Jan-13 21:47:40

seriously, noteng, the Leytonstone 99p store is officially in the Crap London book? grin Obviously a richly-deserved brickbat!

PurpleCrazyHorse Fri 04-Jan-13 21:48:56

We have a child safe scheme in the St David's 2 shopping centre in Cardiff. I think it's a wristband but as it's run by the shopping centre, I think the shops are all on board. We've not used it as DD is pretty compliant and we only have one DC so a bit easier to keep sight of.

Bournemouth beach also have coloured zones with matching wristbands so at least they know the area of the beach the parents are sat.

Maybe starting with the shopping centre or council might be a starting point to getting a scheme up and running. Obviously parents need somewhere to get a wristband from (the lifeguard stations on Bournemouth beach and the info desk in the shopping centre). But I expect the shops do work together for passing on shoplifter info, so they might well be happy to pass on missing child info amongst each other too.

iago Fri 04-Jan-13 21:52:24

Keep the little buggers - 2 to 3 on a lead. It's what dog owners are told. And I speak as one who experienced the blind panic of a toddler who disappeared in a supermarket for 15 mins.

Fakebook Fri 04-Jan-13 21:58:02

That must have been terrifying OP. I lost dd in tesco when I was 9 months pregnant with DS and couldn't run. All the workers in the shop floor were looking for her and talking to one another through their headpiece and they finally found her in the toiletries section. The employees in the 99p shop sound shit.

I'm surprised something like Code Adam wasn't initiated here after James bulger.

Cathycomehome Fri 04-Jan-13 21:58:03

I lost my ds1 at Oxford train station when he was four. I'd been to Birmingham having been offered a job there and taken son to see new school. At the barrier, I looked down to look for the ticket in my purse and let go his hand for literally a minute. Looked up, he was gone. I thought he was teasing around, so called out for him jokingly. No response, GONE.

To cut a long story short, he was reclaimed after 30 minutes! By which time, station staff had searched, passengers been questioned as to whether they'd seen a small blond boy, police called by station staff.

Just as the police officer was asking me "what is your son wearing?", a distraught young Australian woman arrived with my ds1 sobbing in tow.

She and I had waist length blonde hair and the same distinctive red and white coat. He had followed her, not me, and got as far as the traffic lights by the opium den (not far from station but a few minutes walk) when she stopped for the lights.

She looked down, he looked up and wailed "You're not my mummy!"

Thank God she had the prescence of mind to ask him "Where is Mummy? And what's your name?" And brought him back.

Reader, I kissed her. ( and if you're reading eight years later gap year girl, thank you so much!) .

So I sympathise, op, and ds2, as soon as he can walk, will have reins....

iago Fri 04-Jan-13 21:58:09

Sorry, I meant aged 2 to 3 - didn't assume you had a whole flock of them!

tigerdriverII Fri 04-Jan-13 22:00:58


Abra1d Fri 04-Jan-13 22:05:35

Cathycomehome I know that part of Oxford well! That is quite a way for him to go. Thank goodness that girl was a decent human being!

WillowFae Fri 04-Jan-13 22:07:48

I lost DS for a few minutes in a local park when he was 3. It was horrific and lots of mums immediately jumped into action and started searching for him. Never been so happy to see anyone as I was when we found him.

Kalisi Fri 04-Jan-13 22:09:08

In several places that I have worked, the role of dealing with lost children has actually been specifically designated to Security Guards. Seeing as their responsibilities include the safety of the public and all that, I'd say that makes quite a lot of sense.
Tbh this is quite irrelevant though, I really can't grasp the argument that it is not 'somebodys place' to help when a situation involves potential danger to a CHILD. The issue is not that he didn't immediately move mountains to help, it was the overall dismissive attitude. Any decent human being should do what they can to help somebody in clear distress. You can always judge their parenting afterwards if you bloody insist.

Its so easily done !

I lost an 11 year old at a summer camp once. My group thought she was with someone else, everyone else thought we had her.

It was dark and we had been on a walk through the wooded bit. Ive never felt anything like that in my life. I would swear my heart stopped. ( I dont have children) Just the idea that she was lost or hurt somewhere was just awful. She was a "grown up" 11 year old too , sensible and nearly as big as me.

We found her and she was totally fine,she had joined someone elses group and walked back. I cried and threw myself on her and said she was never allowed out of my sight again ever ! I dont even remember having any thoughts in the 15 minutes that she was missing only that she was lost and i had to find her. Nothing else at all.

It wasnt til afterwards it even occurred to me i might be in for a bollocking for "losing" her. I didnt get one though, the staff could see i was a total mess, far more than any telling off would do. One of them did ask if i had been worried about her having fallen in the river running through the site. I must have gone even whiter after that (we had her back by then) because they suddenly backtracked saying "Well its alright now , dont worry we have her back. Dont worry its fine now see shes just fine !"

I dont know how it would feel when its your own child. Thank god everyone i worked with did not have the same attitude as fredandgeorge !

Sabriel Fri 04-Jan-13 22:23:44

I think I've lost each of my 5 at least once. I haven't ever experienced what the OP describes though - I've always had people help me. I lost DD2 last Christmas in a really busy garden centre. She was 4 at the time. Stopped to look at biscuits and she just vanished. Ended up with several members of staff helping me look, and of course I couldn't remember what she was wearing. (and I remember getting lost as a child and a mad panic that I couldn't remember which coat my mum was wearing).

Found her in the coin operated rides by the front door, completely oblivious.

While I think about it, went into an electrical store with my mum, DD and adult DS2. Stopped to look at something then realised I couldn't see DS anywhere and said to mum I'd lost him, and immediately a member of staff nearby asked me how tall he was/ what he looked like and was prepared to start looking for him. He looked quite relieved when I said he was 22 grin.

madmouse Fri 04-Jan-13 22:36:57

I lost my son in a garden centre when he was 3 or just 4. He is disabled and uses a walking frame. I turned to take something of a shelf and he was gone. Zoootsch, nowhere.

Staff's reaction: 'If he's in a walking frame he can't be very fast'. hmm Not seen my son scoot around then, he has no balance but fast legs.

They were generally totally useless. Thankfully it was a rainy day and the town's OAPs were out in force (the cafe is a popular meeting point). They organised themselves in seconds and started the hunt. They soon found him, he'd sneaked back into the cafe and pretended to be very relieved when he saw me. I just cried.

HollyBerryBush Fri 04-Jan-13 22:39:39

Social scientists point out that the fear of child abduction is out of all proportion to its incidence: in particular they point to the long-term persistence of retail kidnapping narratives in urban legends to highlight how parents have been sensitized to this issue for generation

madmouse Fri 04-Jan-13 22:41:49

Holly I was an awful lot more worried about ds ending up under a car outside rather than kidnapped!

So glad he was found OP - and the staff should definitely have been more helpful.

Not sure why so many people are referring to Adam Walsh though - wasn't Jamie Bulger enough? That story terrified me at the time, and I vowed then and there to use reins or a wrist strap on any DC I might have. Kids are like Houdini, so for me reins/wrist strap is the only way my DC will be walking in public until they are very much older than toddler size.

Some people liken using reins/wrist straps to having a dog on a lead.... If it keeps my child from disappearing, risking harm or becoming the next big news story for all the wrong reasons then I don't give a rats ass what anyone else thinks. My child is as safe as I can make them in that situation - who cares what it looks like?

Sabriel LOL @ 'losing' 22yo.
Did they lend you step-ladders so that you could reach to smack his bum? grin

Damash12 Fri 04-Jan-13 22:45:22

How awful, your heart just drops. Xmas eve in Asda and Ds age 4 wanted to look at cars, I was literally next to him and looked at a toy , turned to show Ds and he was gone! I nearly died, started shouting his name and a customer said is this him?, he'd not gone far, next aisle but it was in an instant so i know it can happen and the store should have been more prepared to help you.

happynewmind Fri 04-Jan-13 22:54:40

I haven't read all of posts yet but where we live we have a system where you can get free wristbands to write your contact details on, participating shops have a picture in the window (most of shops have it)

That way you can teach your child from a very young age that if they lose you to go in a shop with that picture on and they have a process of help. Also means they will help you if your child wanders off.

AFAIK Bluewater in Kent does the wristband system.

Startail Fri 04-Jan-13 23:04:36

Hugs, DD1 went everywhere on reins. She just gave me too many heart stopping moments.

It was her mission in life to vanish.

She's 14, she is still a nightmare to go shopping with. She lives in her own world and totally forgets to keep an eye on whoever she us with.

She also forgets to turn on her phoneangry

MrsMushroom Fri 04-Jan-13 23:11:40

I can't believe some peope are so awful OP.....of course you should begin a campaign....I would support you.

My nephew went missing from my Mums house when he was 3 and he had wandered out of her estate and into the main road of the village by passing throguh hedges and gardens.

It was only because the village is small and tight knit that someone spotted him and said "Oh it's X all on his own!"

We in the meantime were running around my Mums estate....the person fetched my DN to his Mothers house.

It's people helping that saves kids.

FabulousFreaks Fri 04-Jan-13 23:23:22

I would support a campaign too and I really think you should go to the press about this. The store behaved so atrociously it beggars belief.

lovelylaydee I assume your name is ironic

doyouwantfrieswiththat Fri 04-Jan-13 23:24:59

I drop everything (except my children) to help a parent find a lost child or a child find a missing parent, it's even happened at school pick ups when the playground's in chaos.

If I take my boys on trips on my own I drill them to look for a security guard or policeman if they lose me and I put a piece of paper with my mobile no. in their pockets.

dp worries that people will get the wrong idea if he approaches lost children sad

DonderandBlitzen Fri 04-Jan-13 23:31:57

That's awful that people ignored or judged you instead of helping. I would have helped you look. Any decent person would.

Jahan Fri 04-Jan-13 23:40:11

Im glad everything was ok op. It must have been terrifying.

A family friend was in Adams once with her baby in a pram. She stopped to look through some baby clothes and when she turned back the pram was gone. She screamed and cried that someone had taken her baby.
Thank God an astute security guard had noticed a woman leaving the shop with a pram in a hurry so he ran out of the shop and down the street after her. Managed to catch up with her, reunited the baby with the mum and waited with the evil bitch til the police turned up.
I guess that's more about the kind of person employed as a security guard rather than store policy.
Shame the security guard op had to contend with was just a shitty person.

Bearfrills Fri 04-Jan-13 23:48:40

I'd have helped you look too and would also support a campaign.

I'm shocked at some of the comments on here from a certain few posters about inattention and what did you think would happen and so on! It's not like you were miles away from him or neglectful FFS. You were right there with him and, even with the best will in the world, children sometimes take it into their heads to wander off. There should be established processes in place for when this happens such as doors being closed, staff helping search, security checking live CCTV feeds for a sighting of the child (who could then radio other staff to tell them where), etc.

I lost DS at Butlins last summer when he was two and a half. My dad took him closer to the Pavillion stage when Barney was on, DS got excited and gave my dad the slip, dashing into a nearby crowd and disappearing. The staff were brilliant, they stationed people at the exits, radio'd security, and then started doing sweeps of the whole Pavillion until he was found (after the longest ten minutes of my life he was found in the arcade climbing on one of those stationary motorbikes). We do have a little backpack set of reins for him but he didn't have them on because we were seated, indoors, watching a show so even when you do use reins it's still possible for them to vanish.

Glad you found your DS, I hope you make a complaint about the security guard, and you thoroughly deserve a large drink!

JazzyTheSnowman Fri 04-Jan-13 23:50:44

I remember when I was five or six, I was out with my father and I stopped to look at something. He didn't realize because he was trying t keep an eye on my younger sister who was the one more likely to toddle off. It literally couldn't have been more than 20 seconds before this huge bloke bent down, asked if I'd lost my parents, told me he was their "friend" then grabbed my hand and led me outside. He was stopped by a security guard and then my father turned up in a sheer panic screaming my name.

I've never left the house without reins for my little one. I had nightmares for weeks about the "bad man" taking me away.

I lost DS (21months) in M&S last week and didn't even know it until some lady brought him in from outside and started asking round the cafe if anyone had lost a child blush I only took my eye off him for a minute while I got his pushchair out again and thought he was stood looking out of the window. Clearly he wanted a better look grin

DonderandBlitzen Sat 05-Jan-13 00:01:07

The National Trust are very good with this. My friend's son (6) wandered off from the cafe while we were queueing and I was chatting to her. We went looking for him and she told the reception and they radioed out to the rangers, one of whom spotted him, so he was reunited with my friend. I assume they have that system at all NT places.

Oh and I lost him at a baby cafe when he wandered off an joined a private party.... That one really confused me as the exit was secure so couldn't figure out where he had bolted to.

DH knows none of this.....

Bunnyjo Sat 05-Jan-13 00:04:42

I lost DS (19mo) in a local cafe/play area recently. I was there with my 2 DCs, my friend and her 2 DCs. I had gone to the till (which was in a different room) to order our food and my friend was with the 4 children in the play area. Her youngest (2yo) fell and split her lip and, in the commotion, DS got through the closed door or the play area and was headed out towards the exit. My friend and a couple of staff were obviously attending to her DD and I had my back to all this as I was in a completely different room ordering, and paying for, our food. When I got back to the play area, I immediately realised that DS was missing and went looking for him - I sent my older DC into the play area to look for him and I searched the rest of the place. He was finally found by a member of staff heading towards the carpark door! I shudder to think what could've happened...

We were in a child friendly place, where reins wouldn't be used and this wasn't anyone's fault - my friend was tending to her DD who had really hurt herself and I was in another room completely unaware. I know I would have done the same as my friend in the same situation.

Sometimes the unexpected happens, surely it is human compassion to help a frantic mum search for her child?

scottishmummy Sat 05-Jan-13 00:07:02

jazzy,no wonder you had terrifying in such short time

BadWickedWorld Sat 05-Jan-13 00:11:49

Poor you this has happened to me several times, first time dd was about 2 and legged it into woolies from superdrug, I followed but she had vanished by the time I had caught up. Ds1 got lost in Harrods food hall of all places and ds2 at the local funfair/community day.

It's a terrible feeling, always remember the look of pure panic on a guy's face at seaworld in florida, he was huge and striding down one of the parks packed walkways bellowing a name, thankfully we had seen a lost child being comforted by a family a few meters back. Must be really terrifying to lose them in such a crowded place.

TheSamling Sat 05-Jan-13 00:19:30

I once lost DD in a very fashionable, very dark teen shop (she was 7) when we were looking for a present for someone. I thought she was with my Mum, who thought she was with me. Time literally does stop when that happens...I just remember running madly around the shop screaming her name, with all the trendy teens sneering at me like I was some crazy middle-ager on drugs. The staff were pretty crap, just muttering, 'no, ain't seen er' at me. Eventually 10 years minutes later I found her, she'd gone downstairs, something she KNOWS not to do if she gets lost. Luckily she had approached a member of staff who had waited for her.

It was bloody scary, and she was 7. I dont know anyone who wouldn't identify with that panic and worry if they were a parent, and I think THAT is what leads us to expect help. Same way I'd be unable to ignore someone having a Heart attack or passing out in a store or in the street. It's a basic level of compassion for one another as Human beings that we feel and assume that all others feel. And it's that which shocks us if we realise it's absence, because we can't comprehend feeling that lack of care towards others...not some overindulgent sense of entitlement.

edam Sat 05-Jan-13 00:25:40

A handy hint I learned from MN to avoid the 'I thought you had ds/No, I thought you had ds' confusion when there is more than one adult. Copy pilots and say, overtly, 'You have ds (or dd)' when you think the other adult is in charge of the kid, then wait until they have responded and acknowledged 'I have ds' before you assume the other adult really is taking care of <insert child's name here>.

May sound idiotic but it does help - we started doing this after losing my niece in the RAF Museum in Hendon. A big aircraft hangar, full of enormous planes so you can't see very far... <shudders at the memory>

edam Sat 05-Jan-13 00:27:01

crosspost, samling! Glad you got your dd back OK.

TheSamling Sat 05-Jan-13 00:47:53

grin we do that now too Edam!

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 05-Jan-13 00:59:00

Yup, we do that because my parents used to do it with us edam.
Forces family, you need to know who's in charge at any time. smile

Withalittlesparkle Sat 05-Jan-13 01:10:44

I once 'found' a child, in an m&s, she was wandering around the shop by the loos, must've been about 5, she was crying and getting worked up but everyone was just ignoring her!!! So I stopped her and asked what was wrong and she said she couldn't find her mum or dad. I asked the staff to put an announcement out and they said that's not what the PA system was for!!!!!

Luckily the little girl had got a dog tag type thing on with her mums mobile number on! It transpires the Dad had taken the little girl to the loo but had made her go in to the ladies on her own!!

dayshiftdoris Sat 05-Jan-13 01:16:54

When my son was 3-4yrs old we were in H&M... he sometimes would refuse to hold my hand but he's so easily distracted I watch him like a hawk...

Didnt stop him not stepping on an esculator next to me - I was going down and he was still at the top... I am shouting at him to get on and he's shaking his head...

Nightmare as up esculator was round the corner so it ended next to the down starting so he'd have been out of sight if I went to it!!

Thankfully 2 teenagers appeared at the top and when he hit the floor and curled in a ball at being asked if he needed help (yeah ok I know he has ASD now) - she shouted to me that she would watch him... I RAN and was with him in less than a minute

Bloody scary and he wasn't even out of sight... Its so easy to become seperated. Thank God there are some helpful, decent people in the world.

Kirk1 Sat 05-Jan-13 01:22:46

DD was a serial escaper. It got to the point where the security guard in my local Sainsbury's would tail her for me and hand her back at the tills blush

She disappeared in the trafford centre trying to get closer to Engy Bengy (Can't remember the spelling for that) it's amazing how quickly a small child can get out of reach when there are many adult legs to dart through and it's so much harder for the adult to push through the crowds.

DS1 found a hole in our garden fence and went for a walk while I was trying to do some work from home and I thought he was safe in the garden. I ended up calling 999 and he was happily sat in the local newsagent where the bloke who'd found him had bought him a magazine. I was in bits, he was happily showing me stickers....

I have also found two children in the supermarket, I walked with them up and down aisles until I spotted the panicked mother. They were about 5 and 7, two girls. At least they'd had the sense to stick together!

notnagging Sat 05-Jan-13 01:30:52

This happened to me in a huge shopping centre the other day. I've never known a feeling like it, sheer & utter hopeless panic. My ds 5 ran out of the store & hid behind a pillar. It only takes a second op. people seem to have forgotten about Jamie Bulgar. God forbid.sad

maxmillie Sat 05-Jan-13 01:34:01

A similar thing happened to me with a lift and my newborn ds1. I was pushing him in, paused and turned round to see if my friend was coming and must have let go as the bloody doors slammed shut! Was a weird glass lift in a cinema I have never seen before or since, only to get you up and down 2 open plan levels. A lady in the lift mouthed I've got him and I bolted up the escalators met them at the top. Will never forget that feeling of panic. Similarly I have only ever seen people being helpful in these situations.

We were at legoland last summer and a lady lost we 3 year old, and the whole place including other parents immediately took over (woman wa a hysterical) and a father found her behind some bushes. Noone was judgemental. The scariest one was when I was waiting for a train at London bridge in rush hour and a tiny toddler wandered past, just at the edge of the platform. I immediatley grabbed him and took him to the staff control bit further up the platform where they immediately took him and were about to do an announcement when the poor dad came running down the platform. Again, no one wa standing there thinking tsk that man must have let go of his kid ill just stand here and judge and let him fall in front of a train. Everyone was just relived he was ok.

Am astounded you faced this attitude op and even more at people like Fred who, surely, cannot have children or experienced toddlers yet.

ravenAK Sat 05-Jan-13 01:34:21

We do that too edam - ever since a traumatic experience in York Railway Museum when we abruptly realised (dd2 was a few weeks old & in a sling) that we'd been terribly complacent with just ds & dd1, & that 3 is a Whole New Ball Game.

It's a horrible experience when you lose one. Dd1, aged 5, went AWOL in Leeds Ikea last year as dh was taking her & dd2 to the loo & I was arguing about something inconsequential with ds.

Ds & I proceeded to the food bit, still arguing, & assuming dh had both dds.

Nope. Dd1 had come out of the toilet to find me, whilst dh was still tidying up dd2, failed to see me - & I wasn't looking out for her, too absorbed in talking to ds - so decided she'd better run back to where she'd last seen me.

It took about 5 minutes for dh & I to realise she was missing, as I was getting food with ds with no idea that dh thought dd1 was with us, & dh & dd2 went to get a table, assuming she'd come out of the loo & found us.

By that time dd1 was wandering in a state of panic around the sofa section. The thing is with dd1, her version of panic is pretty contained, & of course there are kids everywhere, so she could easily have been ignored. Luckily, a kind couple spotted the way she was brimming with tears sad & took her back to staff at the entrance just as dh & I had realised she was with neither of us & were searching the restaurant & toilets.

Suddenly there was an announcement over the tannoy: 'Can Mrs Raven come to the front entrance to meet her dd, please?'

The staff explained that they try to avoid broadcasting 'lost child'...

The couple who'd found her (to whom I am everlastingly grateful!) had had no idea what to do, though - they suspected, correctly, that by taking her to the entrance of the huge store they were taking her further away from us, but didn't know what else to do.

We've since drilled into all 3dc that the thing to do is approach someone in staff uniform & say 'I'm lost!', & make damn sure we both know which dc are with each of us. Scary stuff.

SneakyNuts Sat 05-Jan-13 01:42:50

DD is 13 months and this thread has me terrified confused

WhoPutTheDickOnTheSnowman Sat 05-Jan-13 01:51:40

OP how horrible - I too would complain about the security guard, all the staff sound like they couldn't have given less of a shit.

I've been on both sides of it and it is terrifying. Once on a day at the beach I was going into the sea for a swim when a small toddler, no older than 2 I would say, was guddling about in the sand next to me while I was wrestling with a snorkel, there were loads of adults around us so didn't think anything of it. He fell into the surf face first and I only just managed to haul him up by his leg before a wave came that was big enough to take a small boy with it.
No one looked around which I thought was very odd. Then after asking around I realised he had wandered off - it took several minutes to find the group around his mum even though they weren't that far she would never have seen him. I can still see the absolute terror in her face, it was awful. What makes me most angry about that is there is a real possibility he could have drowned, no one looked down when he went over and it was pure luck I wasn't already in the water. Nobody was bothered - I assumed his parent was a close adult but still got to him but they assumed he was mine maybe but did nothing? It's something I'll never understand. Is your time so precious it's worth a dead baby? Really? I didn't have children then but absolutely shared in the heart stopping dread of it all.

I had never had a problem with wanderers until my second to last 'The Bolter' - it is her mission in life to disappear and she had the road sense of a dead badger. She was always on reins but realised how to get out of them one day. We found her at the edge of the big lake in the park trying to get down to stroke the swans - it was about a foot drop. It was the least likely time for her to run too as we were just handing out ice creams which she had been going on about for ages, the temptation was just too much though. Crowd of kids around me, crowd of people around the van meant that even though I knew she had got free within seconds that was all it took for her to be concealed in the forest of legs, I looked in the wrong direction first - it can come down to that much. It was a few hundred yards but she nearly plopped in.

I've also had really shitty treatment when taking disabled adults out. One trip to the Doctors, I was booking at the desk after seating him in the waiting room - when I got in he was gone. The number of people that ignored my pleas for help was staggering; everyone in the waiting room just kept their head down. He was a vulnerable adult that was not safe on his own and he could have come to serious harm - but nobody wanted to know. Literally ignored me and walked past on the street as I asked if they had seen him. He had been keen to go but was very distressed when I found him (not very far away a few minutes later) - not one person stopped to help him or ask if he was ok. I was comforting a sobbing and panicked young man and just got dirty looks. It turned out something had caught his eye in a shop window on the way and he wanted to go back and look and very quickly became lost and scared, he doesn't usually wander off. It's not a pedestrian town centre, he's very trusting and anything could have happened.
Of course you feel guilt and responsibility when and after it happens but that means shit if your charge is under a bus, drowned or wandering the streets for anyone to take advantage of. I can't understand people who could walk away from a disressed person or turn around and essentially say 'well I hope your dead/injured/missing kid will teach you to be more responsible - I've got important shit to do'. Sorry, end rant.

Glad all is well OP - it happens we've all been there in one way or another and do persue your complaint, at the very least it was appaling customer service and businesses don't like that do they, hurts the profits hmm

GregBishopsBottomBitch Sat 05-Jan-13 01:58:46

I will never understand how people can act like that, it can happen to anyone, the truely ignorant dont understand that if they took time out of their oh so important lives, that day could be the day they save a life.

Catchingmockingbirds Sat 05-Jan-13 02:35:11

I lost DS once when he was 2, it was honestly the worst feeling I've ever had and I still feel horrible thinking back to it. We were at a caravan park and he'd managed to get himself out of our caravan and wandered into the neighbouring caravan. We couldn't find him for about 20 minutes - the longest 20 minutes of my life.

I've met a couple of lost children in shopping centres before and I always take them straight to a member of staff and ask them to put an announcement out. I've never been told no.

MuddlingMackem Sat 05-Jan-13 02:39:27

ThePigOfHappiness Fri 04-Jan-13 18:39:28

>>>> I lost dd1 (7) at the beach before. I picked up dd2 under my arm and ran, leaving buggy towels etc. not one person stopped to help or ask was I ok and when I finally found her, and we got back, loads of our stuff had been robbed. Hands down the worst day of my life. <<<<

That's awful. Hard to believe some people can be so low. sad

Always had reservations about taking my two to the beach alone, and so far have only done it once, last summer when they were 8 and 5, really hot day and the beach was heaving. Had a freak out moment when I couldn't see either of them and then they both appeared from different directions. Bawled them out and told them to stick together or we were going home. Way too stressful!

MammaTJ Sat 05-Jan-13 04:24:40

Muddling the beach (five minute bus ride away) is the one place I know where my DD age 7 is. She loves the water and DS loves the sand, so as long as I am a little away from the sea and facing it I can see them both. It is far more relaxing than shops with her.

McNewPants2013 Sat 05-Jan-13 04:45:06

My son had butlins on a red alert when he went missing for over 30 minutes ( felt like weeks) we was only there for 10 minutes.

MrsGerm Sat 05-Jan-13 05:30:15

I think that it is entirely reasonable to expect the assistance of the security guard and store staff in this instance. Hadn't heard of Code Adam but it sounds like a really good idea to adopt here. Even though my 'little' boy is at University now - and hasn't held my hand when shopping for some years, I can still recall the gut churning panic of loosing him aged about three in a crowded public place - a large kids playground, and co-opting everyone I could to look for him, the difference there was that we were all parents so could identify with the sheer terror of temporarily loosing a child. He turned up at the top of the witches hat climbing frame, with a broad grin and a "look at me I can climb this high and hold on with just one hand" wave. I have never been so grateful for the kindness of strangers in my life.

pigletmania Sat 05-Jan-13 07:14:34

The thought of James Bulger had my dd in a buggy until 4, she would refuse the reins and would bolt. She is now nearly 6 and stays close by me and nods my hand. Se has ASD so she hates strangers and loosing sight of me

pigletmania Sat 05-Jan-13 07:45:26

Gosh whoputthedick I would in that situation told the mum he nearly drowned if you had not been there. Reading some of the accounts on here some parents have a don't care attitude

SoupDragon Sat 05-Jan-13 08:42:24

Really, Piglet? You would have told a mother who had a look of "absolute terror" on her face that her child had nearly drowned? confused

BoffinMum Sat 05-Jan-13 08:52:07

I think the thing that is reassuring here is that there are so many reports of compassionate people helping all the bolters. Most people are bloody nice when it comes to it

Pythonesque Sat 05-Jan-13 08:52:53

My mother has numerous tales of chasing me round the block when I was a toddler. Not only was I a bolter but until I was 4 I was extremely deaf so once I got away the only option was to chase me. I think the pram and reins got a very good work out whenever we went anywhere. Added to which I was very tall for my age so people probably looked askance when I behaved age-normal ...

MerryChristmasEverybody Sat 05-Jan-13 09:05:35

That is awful! I'm glad your son is safe.

I was in a 99p store (presume same company) and saw somebody spray deodrent to see what it smelt like, was then told they'd have to pay for it, they refused and the police were called!

I refuse to shop in the 99p store now and go to poundland

pigletmania Sat 05-Jan-13 09:33:17

Yes soup if she did not appear to careless. Rereading whoputthedickthesnowman, it was ther bystanders who did not bother not the mum who was clearly terrified. So no of course I would not soup . Sorry misread that post

ladymariner Sat 05-Jan-13 10:01:18

I lost ds in Primark when he was about 3, most terrifying moment of my life. He was standing next to me as I returned some items, I looked down again and he was gone. Everyone was brilliant, running round looking for him, we eventually found him near the doors.
I told dh what had happened and whilst sympathetic, I got the feeling he felt I should have been more careful. His words came back to bite him on the bum when he was looking after him whilst I paid for things and he lost him in Woollies (I shop at all the best places!!!). Again the staff were amazing, and we found ds stuffing his bag full of goodies at the pick and mix.
So so terrifying, and I simply could not imagine leaving or ignoring someone in the same situation. It's not a case of being neglectful, these things happen in the blink of an eye, and it's only human decency and kindness to try to help.

edam Sat 05-Jan-13 11:19:05

Wish I could remember which MNer suggested the pilot 'you have ds/I have ds' technique for making sure you know which parent is in charge of which child - I am very grateful for them telling me about that. Think their dh was a pilot or something. Interested to see a few others use it as well - Raven, I can't imagine how awful it must have been to lose one in York Railway Museum, it is massive and fulll of huge machines, loads of places where a child could be hidden from your view.

edam Sat 05-Jan-13 11:22:02

I suspect the very few posters who have been smug and judgmental about this have very young children so have no idea how easy it is for a mobile older child to slip away. They will learn... and hopefully have the good grace to admit they didn't know what they were talking about.

amillionyears Sat 05-Jan-13 11:22:27

That "you have ds/I have ds technique" sounds good.
I had never thought of that, and it is a simple idea.

edam Sat 05-Jan-13 11:29:28

I know, would love the MNer who told me about it to crop up on this thread so I can say a heartfelt 'thank you'!

It's not just parents who lose children either. In infants, ds once managed to slip away from his teacher at hometime and took it into his head to walk home on his own. She thought she'd seen me in the playground... I was sooooo frightened when I realised he wasn't in the playground. We had Very Stern Words about never leaving without the adult he knew was collecting him!

Even now he's in juniors it can still happen - I was up at school for a session on internet safety a few weeks ago. Ds knew I was going in for this but I knew he had an after school club so left school chatting with other Mums at hometime. Ds forgot all about fencing and went into the playground to find me... I only realised when one of his friends came running up as I was walking home to tell me he was in the playground looking for me!

doyouwantfrieswiththat Sat 05-Jan-13 11:35:34

Have had a similar experience on the underground when my ticket wouldn't work after my boys had gone through the barrier at South Ken. Only to be told by one of the staff that he couldn't do anything, my children were my responsibility... hmm

Fortunately my boys stayed where they were while I ran to the other end of the barriers to be let through, they were 4 & 6 yrs old at the time, it was the first time I hadn't carried ds2 through the barrier with me, (he's big for his age & I'm very small).

doyouwantfrieswiththat Sat 05-Jan-13 11:37:21

similar to OP obviously...

BlueberryHill Sat 05-Jan-13 12:10:54

edam, DH and I do the same thing, we have three under 5 so it makes sense, although we do shout "[DH name] incoming..." but we always make sure the other one acknowledges that they now have x to look after.

HollaAtMeBaby Sat 05-Jan-13 12:11:07

I do think people who have children forget that people who don't often aren't tuned into them/don't notice them/don't know what to do or how to talk to them if they find a lost preschooler - it's not always selfishness, often just cluelessness. e.g. I was in a big shop recently when someone brought a lost child of about 3 or 4 to the tills and everyone was sort of nonplussed. The little boy refused to speak at first - I managed to get him to tell me his name after a couple of minutes sitting on the floor and playing with a toy he was clutching but nobody else knew what to do and they were understandably reluctant to announce "if you have lost a small boy, please come and get him" over the tannoy. Similarly, people who aren't used to children would probably not think of grabbing a toddler who's about to get on an escalator unaccompanied, for example.

SoupDragon Sat 05-Jan-13 12:13:02

Even David Cameron left his DD in a pub wink

doyouwantfrieswiththat Sat 05-Jan-13 12:22:44

When leaving school late one day with my dcs I found a little girl alone in the playground,a preschooler too little/shy to tell us her name.
The teachers helped me search classrooms and outside gates and no adult was found, I left her with the head & office staff with the thought that she was safe and her parent would check there first.

When I asked next day one of the teachers told me it was a child minder that picked her up.

BlueberryHill Sat 05-Jan-13 12:24:24

I think most people are really helpful, shocked at some of the examples here in shops and restaurants where people haven't been. We have lost DS1 twice and they have both been heartstopping moments. We were going to the playground on a holiday site, he was just ahead of us, but when we got there we couldn't find him. DH legged it backwards to trace our steps shouting his name, everyone stopped what they were doing and started to look. DS1 had thought that we were going to the car, luckily all the talks had sunk in and he stayed where he was and shouted back when he heard DH. I have tears now writing about it and he was in no danger, I just remember the emotions when he did disappear.

On the other side I saw a young girl, 3 / 4 in a shopping centre, she didn't seem to be with anyone so I kept watching for a couple of minutes. Still no one there so I approached her, crouched low and asked her name, was she lost but I had no response. No one came up whilst I was talking to her, so it confirmed she was lost but I didn't want to leave her, couldn't get her to talk and I couldn't take her into a shop or find a security guard. Luckily a lady passing saw us and stopped, she said that she would try as she might know her language. She did, so she talked to the girl and I went to find a security guard. The guard was talking to the mother who had lost a child...

MuddlingMackem Sat 05-Jan-13 12:35:12

MammaTJ Sat 05-Jan-13 04:24:40

>>>> Muddling the beach (five minute bus ride away) is the one place I know where my DD age 7 is. She loves the water and DS loves the sand, so as long as I am a little away from the sea and facing it I can see them both. It is far more relaxing than shops with her. <<<<

The day I was there it was too busy to sit close to the water or to see the kids easily, but then it was a roasting day. grin Maybe if I go on a day it's less warm and less busy it wouldn't be as stressful. smile DS was a bolter so, until he was about 4 or 5, particularly once I had DD as well, I would mostly only take him places if I met up with at least one friend so that I wasn't the only adult.

JustFabulous Sat 05-Jan-13 12:36:12

We have just come back from the shopping centre I lost DS2 in 2 years ago and having been reading this thread I wouldn't let him out of my sight and just felt anxious the whole time. I think the panic comes from not knowing how long it is going to be before you find them again. Or even if you will. I am in a weird mood atm so it hasn't helped. I am staying in for the rest of the day now and DH has taken DS2 to get DS1 and DD from PIL.

Pearchild Wed 09-Jan-13 15:35:27

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Arthurfowlersallotment Wed 09-Jan-13 15:39:16

Umm, I've had a read of your website and I haven't a clue what it is..

pigletmania Wed 09-Jan-13 15:48:27

I know Arthur the website des not give much information on the products, what they do, what they are. Pear child. You need more detailed information on your products

Pearchild Wed 09-Jan-13 15:58:24

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

pigletmania Wed 09-Jan-13 16:01:56

Thanks pear child, it does. Sorry for being dumb but do you activate it through your website or by toying a pin number on your mobile

orangepudding Wed 09-Jan-13 16:04:37

Pearchild, sounds good in principle but on the occasions I have lost a child I panic and look / ask others to help me look for the child.
I wouldn't be calm enough to key anything into my mobile.

Pearchild Wed 09-Jan-13 16:07:51

Hi Piglet, not dumb at all. Yes, when you register the device, you will do so through the website.

Pearchild Wed 09-Jan-13 16:10:33

Hello orangepudding. I know the feeling! The suggestion is you would store the number into you mobile as a favourite, so for most modern phones you will only need to press one key to activate.

And one of the benefits, is that the moment you activate you are asking all others to help you.

grumpyinthemorning Wed 09-Jan-13 16:47:23

I've never lost a child, but I remember being in the local shopping centre once before I had kids, and coming across a little boy, couldn't have been more than 4 or 5, crying his eyes out and calling for his mummy. People were just walking past, ignoring him, so I stopped and got him calmed down enough to take him to the information desk. They announced over the pa and a few minutes later his mum turned up, absolutely frantic. She kept thanking me, but I honestly believe that it's the right thing to do. I couldn't bear to leave a lost child standing there alone, crying.

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