To think you should stay with a lost child?

(141 Posts)
NarkyNamechanger Fri 02-Aug-13 13:27:44

So yesterday I took the DC to a local lake/woodland area for a walk. They took bikes and scooters and we've been lots of times always sticking to the man made path around the lake/trees. They go ahead but never too far or out of sight or off the path.

About half way round ds2 scoots ahead and stops outside the playground and cafe area where we were stopping for lunch. He turned around and because this bit is much busier, he couldn't see me. I could see him in the distance but he panicked and started crying.

I saw a lady walking her dog approach him and after about 10 seconds she carried on. I sped up and got to him. I asked him what the dog walker had said' which was to ask him why he was crying, ds2 had said he couldn't see his mum and she'd just said 'oh I'm sure she'll be along in a minute'. Granted I was and he was fine but still... Shouldn't you stay and comfort a lost child?


cushtie335 Fri 02-Aug-13 13:32:29

It wasn't her responsibility and you were "along in a minute" so I think YABU.

WineNot Fri 02-Aug-13 13:35:36

I would have stayed with him if he was crying...

WineNot Fri 02-Aug-13 13:35:50

Or upset at all....

ImNotBloody14 Fri 02-Aug-13 13:37:25

I think if he's a panicker you shouldnt let him go where he cant see you tbh.

She was right- you were along in a minute. She was probably trying to work out whether she was putting herself at risk by staying with him and risking you accusing her of trying to kidnap him.

livinginwonderland Fri 02-Aug-13 13:38:10

I would have stayed, but I know a lot of people wouldn't.

ImNotBloody14 Fri 02-Aug-13 13:38:16

What age is he btw?

Vivacia Fri 02-Aug-13 13:38:17

I always stay with lost children in situations like this.

PearlyWhites Fri 02-Aug-13 13:38:18

Cushtie is that what you would tell the police after a child had been abducted?
Op yanbu

ImNotBloody14 Fri 02-Aug-13 13:39:45

Why would cushtie be telling the police anything? confused

D0oinMeCleanin Fri 02-Aug-13 13:41:03

I would have stayed, but Cushtie is right, your child is your responsibility not the dog walkers.

Maybe she was in rush or had looked around and spotted you figuring you were on your way to him.

xylem8 Fri 02-Aug-13 13:41:20

I think it is a bit rich to not keep your dc under control and then criticise other adults for not taking good enough care of him!

BackforGood Fri 02-Aug-13 13:42:48

Whereas I think xylem has a point for this thread, in a general situation if I found a child who was lost then of course I would stay with them / help them do something about it.

cushtie335 Fri 02-Aug-13 13:44:09

No PearlyWhites it wouldn't because I would personally stay with a lost child, however, some people wouldn't. I wasn't the lady walking the dog's responsibility to stay with the child. Please don't try to infer that I'm some kind of unfeeling monster thank you very much.

PeoplesRepublicOfBerkshire Fri 02-Aug-13 13:44:38

I would have stayed with the child until I was sure the mum was with him.

Couldn't walk away from a crying child blush.

DidoTheDodo Fri 02-Aug-13 13:44:40

I'm in agreement with xylem on this one.
I probably wouldn't stay with a child - but might have alerted the café staff to him.

FuzzyWuzzywasaWoman Fri 02-Aug-13 13:45:21

I suppose it depends on his age, I think more people would be inclined to stay with a 3 year old than say a 10 year old. I would have stayed regardless but can see why others wouldn't in certain circumstances.

Glad all was well in the end though.

NarkyNamechanger Fri 02-Aug-13 13:46:23

He was 7 last week and you're right he is a bit of a panicker if he can't see me but we are working on that and he really wasn't that far in front but the area just got suddenly busy with people and blocked his view back.

I hardly think that's 'out of control'. I guess I just can't imagine leaving an obviously upset person, adult or child, alone. Yes I could see him and was there very quickly but she wouldn't have known that.

Viviennemary Fri 02-Aug-13 13:47:00

A lot of people would have stayed. And I probably would have too. But on the other hand it seems as if he was in a busy area near a cafe. So he wasn't exactly far from help and in the middle of nowhere which would have been different. So I think YABU to be annoyed the walker just left him.

Twirlyhot Fri 02-Aug-13 13:47:17

I would stay. I might not approach the child though, just keep an eye from several paces away. People can be very agressive if they see you talking to their child.

It's not so much that the woman was being unreasonable not to stay with him, as it is a surprising thing to do - most people would find it hard to leave a crying child alone, particularly after having already stopped to ask if he was OK.

mindyourownbusiness Fri 02-Aug-13 13:50:22

If you were far enough away from him not to be able to relay to the woman by shouting or waving that he was with you , then you were far enough away for someone to have snatched him. If you are worried about that sort of thing don't let him get so far away from you that you couldn't do anything about it. Don't blame the woman either , for all you know she could have kept looking back or have been watching out of sight to make sure he was reunited with his mum.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 02-Aug-13 13:50:38

I'd have stayed but I think people are often wary of approaching upset children nowadays, especially men sadly.

But just think if she had stayed, you'd probably be posting 'some woman was so judgey yesterday because my son couldn't see me for 30 seconds' wink

whois Fri 02-Aug-13 13:51:01

He's seven? I thought you were going to say two or something. Kinda silly he cried about not being able to see you.

Gruntfuttock Fri 02-Aug-13 13:51:40

I think I would have worried that I would further panic the child by talking to him and /or staying with him, because most children have been told "don't talk to strangers" and also many parents are aggressive if you talk to their children (in fact I have been given filthy looks for smiling at a baby). I would, however, have been concerned enough to hang around to make sure that he was joined by a parent/carer.

cushtie335 Fri 02-Aug-13 13:52:09

^I'd have stayed but I think people are often wary of approaching upset children nowadays, especially men sadly.

But just think if she had stayed, you'd probably be posting 'some woman was so judgey yesterday because my son couldn't see me for 30 seconds'^

That's more or less what I was thinking but you have articulated it for me smile

JamieandtheMagicTorch Fri 02-Aug-13 13:53:04

Perhaps she saw you coming along?

JamieandtheMagicTorch Fri 02-Aug-13 13:53:47

... because if you could see her, surely she could see you?

Twirlyhot Fri 02-Aug-13 13:54:49

I've had a mouthful before from someone. When they've lost their child and find them crying and distressed with a stranger with large dogs apparently it's the dogs that are the problem confused. Those big dogs that are lying down. On leads.

maja00 Fri 02-Aug-13 13:55:00

I would have stayed, but he wasn't a toddler and was in a safe place so I don't think it was wrong of her to leave - she checked he wasn't hurt or in immediate danger.

NotYoMomma Fri 02-Aug-13 13:55:06

if you could see him and he wasnt that far away then surely you could have called out and waved.

her dog might be agressive, she might have just moved away but kept an eye from a distance?

you don't know

thebody Fri 02-Aug-13 13:56:53

god yes amazed posters saying they wouldn't.

if someone had stopped and asked why Jamie bugler was crying he would be alive today.

hasn't everyone at least once had that panicky feeling of loosing a child.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Fri 02-Aug-13 13:57:37

I would satay with him, yes. I'm just wondering if she saw the OP coming

JamieandtheMagicTorch Fri 02-Aug-13 13:57:59

not satay , stay

cushtie335 Fri 02-Aug-13 13:59:32

Most people have said they WOULD stay, they're just not being judgey about the woman who didn't who could have any number of reasons for not doing so, one of the main ones being that she saw the child's mother approaching after all.

FannyMcNally Fri 02-Aug-13 13:59:39

I don't think at this age you would necessarily get a true version of everything that was exactly said, especially as how he was upset as well. She may have said, will you be all right? Shall I stay with you? etc.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Fri 02-Aug-13 14:00:04

Blimey, buying your girlfriend's tampons would have been considered "modern" when i was a teen in the 1980s.

NarkyNamechanger Fri 02-Aug-13 14:00:22

I think it's the fact that she obviously cared enough to stop and ask but then not really do anything? Maybe her dog was aggressive I didn't think of that. And maybe she did watch from a distance.

I have since checked with ds2 that he would know what to do next (go into the cafe not take off looking for me).

And no he's not a toddler but is it really that sill that he cried? He is quite happy to be away from me but thinking you're lost is different, isn't it?

JamieandtheMagicTorch Fri 02-Aug-13 14:00:25


cushtie335 Fri 02-Aug-13 14:01:29

Lolling at Jamie in the wrong thread, and a TAMPON one at that, hee hee.

Salmotrutta Fri 02-Aug-13 14:01:58

I stayed with a crying little boy once until his panicked mum and big brother came running up.

He had left a shop thinking they were outside too then got disorientated and upset.

He was doing that gulping, sobbing and lots of other people were just walking past hmm So I stood with him and talked to him, trying to find out which shop they had been in. At that point mum appeared thankfully!

And for the record, his mum thanked me profusely for standing with him.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Fri 02-Aug-13 14:02:19

Course it's not silly a 7 year old cried.

NarkyNamechanger Fri 02-Aug-13 14:02:29


JamieandtheMagicTorch Fri 02-Aug-13 14:03:25

cushtie grin

It's not the worst one I've done. I once typed 'Tis Pity She's A Whore. In a thread about a little girl

NarkyNamechanger Fri 02-Aug-13 14:04:01


cushtie335 Fri 02-Aug-13 14:06:11


Gruntfuttock Fri 02-Aug-13 14:09:51

OP, you think this woman was wrong for not staying with a child, but how about all the other people who didn't even talk to him? At least she showed concern and you don't know the precise conversation between her and your son so you are not in a position to judge her actions and find her wanting IMO.

thebody Fri 02-Aug-13 14:10:39


wierd that someone would think it was silly for a lost child to cry! he's 7.

dyslexicdespot Fri 02-Aug-13 14:10:53

I would like to raise my DS in a society where all adults concern themselves with the well being of all children, regardless of the child's age. I can't imagine leaving a distressed child alone.

maja00 Fri 02-Aug-13 14:11:05

She stopped and checked he wasn't injured and nothing bad had happened. When it turned out he'd just lost sight of his mum, and he was obviously in a safe place and she'd probably be along in a minute, the woman didn't feel it necessary to do much more.

SirChenjin Fri 02-Aug-13 14:13:52

FFS - a child is crying because he's lost his mum. Of course I would stay with him. The fact that there are people on here who wouldn't makes me feel physically sick - looking at my own lovely little boy who is 6 who is currently playing happily with his trains, and imagining that there are adults who no doubt think they are decent, reasonable human beings who would just leave him distressed like that is beyond belief.

MN is an eye opener at times sad

Arf at 'Tis pity!

cushtie335 Fri 02-Aug-13 14:14:52

Jamie actually wrote "Course it's NOT silly a 7 year old cried" (my caps). You seem to be determined to make out people on this thread are advocating leaving a crying child alone, they're not, most are just giving the lady in the woods the benefit of the doubt.

Quaffle Fri 02-Aug-13 14:16:02

I lost mum and dad in town once. Two men stopped and asked what was wrong and I told them (sobbing) and the next minute mum and dad turned up.

I was only about two but I remember wondering at the time why mum was so (very uncharacteristically) short with the men. I expect she was suspicious of their motives.

BabyStone Fri 02-Aug-13 14:19:04

If I saw a child looking lost/upset on their own, I would stop and ask if they were ok. If they said they couldn't see their parent, I would stay and wait until their parent turned up. If the child got scared, I'd reassure them who I was and just try talking to them or something, or maybe tell them to wait where they are and I'd stand near them. Then explain when the parent did turn up

thebody Fri 02-Aug-13 14:19:26


i was commenting in whols post in page 1 that said she/ he thought it was 'silly for a 7 year old to cry'

I wasn't commenting in Jamie's post except to agree with her.

that's if you meant me.

Salmotrutta Fri 02-Aug-13 14:19:31

And that Quaffle is why men are very wary now of helping children.

Or even chatting to them in a cafe/ park or whatever.

Gruntfuttock Fri 02-Aug-13 14:20:09

Quaffle which would no doubt made the men wary of approaching a distressed child in the future, even if (as was likely) their motives were good.

thebody Fri 02-Aug-13 14:20:44

and whatever her reason for walking on I personally wouldn't have.

children wander from 'safe places'

ClockWatchingLady Fri 02-Aug-13 14:21:38

I'm with you, OP. I would like to think the lady would have stayed. I've always felt it's my duty to stay with any "lost" child I've encountered till the parent finds them.

thebody Fri 02-Aug-13 14:21:59

neither would my dss, just asked them and they are 23 and 22. they would have stayed and got help.

mindyourownbusiness Fri 02-Aug-13 14:22:22

Jamies going for ' inappropriate poster of the year ' by the sound of it.

grin Brilliant,

SirChenjin Fri 02-Aug-13 14:22:55

Some men are wary, some. I know DH wouldn't think twice about staying with a distressed child, and I would imagine that many men would be more concerned with making sure that the child didn't come to more harm from another less caring adult, or wander away, than being accused of something.

Quaffle Fri 02-Aug-13 14:23:24

Yes, exactly. And that was in the days before there was a peedo round every corner and behind every bin.

If it had happened more recently she'd probably have had them both in a headlock.

mrsjay Fri 02-Aug-13 14:23:56

maybe the dog walker saw you walking along he is obviously old enough to scoot ahead I am sure the woman said your mum will be in a minute because it was a park and you were along in a minute, she did check on him yabu. Id always ask a crying child but if a child is old enough to be on a scooter id assume you were near by

NarkyNamechanger Fri 02-Aug-13 14:24:12

I was also commenting on whois remark that it's silly for a 7yr old to cry. Then my 'Jamie?' Was in reference to the tampon confusion.

cushtie335 Fri 02-Aug-13 14:27:33

thebody Please accept my apologies. Jamie and her daft tampons has got me all aflap!!

thebody Fri 02-Aug-13 14:27:56

think cushy got wrong end if stick!!

hope your ds is ok op? good learning opportunity but upsetting.

thebody Fri 02-Aug-13 14:28:37

lol no problems Jamie made me laugh too 😆

cushtie335 Fri 02-Aug-13 14:29:35

I did, yes (blush). and OP, the main thing is your wee boy is OK. Losing your child or being lost, even for seconds is horrible.

mrsjay Fri 02-Aug-13 14:31:10

as long as he is fine now no harm done and at least somebody stopped to many people just dont notice anything and keep walking

LovePotatoes Fri 02-Aug-13 14:31:29

i too would have stopped and waited with the child.
About 20 years ago family outing to city centre my little.sisters and i were playing hide n seek in a department store whilst parents were shopping there. I couldnt find my youngest sister and bwfore i knew it a stranger, a woman, was guiding my little sister back to us. She gave us such a good telling off that we never played hide n seek in the shops again!!!! My little sister had wondered off out the department store. Im glad that lady hadnt walked off and had the heart to help my lost little sister

NarkyNamechanger Fri 02-Aug-13 14:33:49

Yes he is absolutely fine and I guess at least she stopped and spoke to him. smile

cushtie335 Fri 02-Aug-13 14:34:12

My DD used to do it deliberately in shops like Asda where there was a customers services desk that she would get made a fuss of and get her name over the tannoy. It drove me insane. I ended up getting a wrist strap for her so she couldn't "lose" herself.

kim147 Fri 02-Aug-13 14:38:07

I've seen lost children on a few occasions and have talked to them to check if they're ok. I took one to a worker in a supermarket but then the dad turned up.

There was a TV experiment where so many people ignored a child crying by themselves in a mall. That could be my child.

Svrider Fri 02-Aug-13 14:39:27

I have 3 young DC and tend to talk to unknown children whilst out and about
I've had some very hard "death" stares from some mums when I've not got my own children with me IYSWIM
Op whilst yanbu I can also see why the dog walker kept her distance tbh

Gruntfuttock Fri 02-Aug-13 14:40:43

Svrider are you male or female?

HollyBerryBush Fri 02-Aug-13 14:43:17

About a month ago there was a thread on here (summary) child escaped from back garden and went off for a walk and was brought back by next door neighbours dad who was walking his dog.

>pear clutching outrage< he must have been a paedo.

So you cant do right for doing wrong. Imagine if a bloke had stood with the child. Christ we'd be googling the Woodland CEO and sending stroppy emails about abduction

Gruntfuttock Fri 02-Aug-13 14:45:55

Holly it is indeed an outrage to clutch your pear! Not as much of an outrage as clutching your pair though. That's just rude. wink

SirChenjin Fri 02-Aug-13 14:46:49

It really wouldn't matter to me what some nutjob of a parent thought about me waiting with their lost child who was distressed - water off a duck's back. My main concern would be the child.

Fallout1977 Fri 02-Aug-13 14:47:56

When my son wandered out of a shop on his own I couldn't actually get to him because so many people were there comforting him. He has never gone out of sight before and was more terrified of all those people than losing me ;)

Thumbwitch Fri 02-Aug-13 14:53:23

I would always stay with a lost child and help them try to find their mum/dad. I'm a bit of a "class monitor" about these things, I can't help myself. I get it from my Dad, who is the same but who would probably be arrested if he did it now sad

NachoAddict Fri 02-Aug-13 14:56:09

I would stay with a lost child and would be nothing but grateful to anyone who helped mine. It's sad that people feel so wary. There is a world of difference between standing next to q lost child and dragging them away through the bushes!

Rufus43 Fri 02-Aug-13 14:58:12

I would stay, I wouldn't walk away from a crying child

Gruntfuttock Fri 02-Aug-13 14:59:04

Fallout that's the thing. Some panicky children would panic even more at a stranger talking to them because they've had it drilled into them not to talk to strangers. I could never ignore a lost child, I hasten to add, regardless of that.

kim147 Fri 02-Aug-13 14:59:20

What's so worrying about the "paedo around the corner" attitude is that the reality is most abusers are known to the child. Abduction is very very rare and the chances of a potential abductor being around a lost child is extremely unlikely.

mirry2 Fri 02-Aug-13 14:59:22

Sorry but I DO judge the lady with the dog. I'm shocked that anyone would walk away from a crying child who thought he was lost. A seven year old is still very young. Actually I wouldn't walk away from anyone looking distressed and lost.

Dahlen Fri 02-Aug-13 14:59:48

I would have stayed, and have done on more than one occasion in the past. If no one comes along, I'd take responsibility for taking the child to a place of safety, too. I'd far rather have to explain I'm not a paedophile/kidnapper than live with the knowledge that I had let a child get into an avoidable accident, fall into the hands of someone who definitely didn't have that child's best interests at heart, or simply be very scared.

Whether the OP was irresponsible is completely irrelevant (although IMO she wasn't), because none of that alters the fact that the child was alone (although in this case he wasn't really) and therefore possibly vulnerable, and most certainly scared and in need of an adult's reassuring presence.

Rufus43 Fri 02-Aug-13 15:00:18

Should clarify that I would not leave a strange child when it was crying....would make a break for it if it was one of mine

missimperfect Fri 02-Aug-13 15:02:44

All these people saying "maybe the lady could see the OP walking along". How can that be relevant unless the OP was carrying a big sign saying "mother of crying child near the café" ? She couldn't have known who the child's mother was.
Most of us would have stayed. Many a time I have checked on a crying child - usually to find they were not far away from the parent and just having a bit of a moment! But we should give the lady the benefit of the doubt - she might have had to rush off to an appointment or something and we don't know exactly what she said to the child: she might have told the child to just "wait here by the café - just stay where you are and I am sure your mum will come along soon" or something like that.

Gruntfuttock Fri 02-Aug-13 15:05:16

Rufus! shock Don't make Holly clutch her pear again!

Hulababy Fri 02-Aug-13 15:05:31

I would, and have asked an upset child if they are okay - and I have stayed with them until not found. In my case it was within a minute at most. If was longer I would look for some type of official person to inform.

And no - it is not silly for a 7y to cry if he thinks he is lost.

SirChenjin Fri 02-Aug-13 15:06:16

It's impossible to know what was going on in her mind when she decided to leave a distressed child crying on his own, I agree.

thegreylady Fri 02-Aug-13 15:07:25

I would have stayed with a crying child until the parent showed up.I would be worried that a 7yr old had more reason to be upset than just a minute out of sight.My dgs is 6 and rides his bike in a similar area with me dd and dgs2.If he gets a bit far ahead he turns round and rides back-he wouldn't stand and cry!

Rufus43 Fri 02-Aug-13 15:08:34

Just had a thought, when my ds2 was about 2 we went to a very crowded beach. He was just behind my deck chair and my husband was just in front. Dh looked down for a minute and ds2 had disappeared!

Dh was frantic and we searched for 5 mins then he want to the amusement arcade/fairground while I went the other way to the lost child.

Luckily he was there but a lady had seen ds2 looking round and had asked him if he was lost (he said yes, because he couldn't see us even though we knew where he was). She then took him to lost children

As helpful as she was being I would have stayed still with the child for a few minutes or yelled lost child before taking them to lost children

Having said that I would probably be complaining if she had done that and. Was waiting at lost children!

thebody Fri 02-Aug-13 15:10:37

cushtie my ds did just the same.😆

Rufus43 Fri 02-Aug-13 15:10:38

gruntfuttock god forbid! They go all mushy if they are manhandled!

PeppermintPasty Fri 02-Aug-13 15:16:56

My mum got on a train to help my nan load her case after her hols with us. I was on the platform, aged about 3.

Train pulls off. Cue much bawling from me.

2 old ladies took me off to the car park and sat me in their car. I remember the door being wide open.

They fed me Spangles.

Mum meanwhile had pulled the emergency cord, almost biffed the guard and found me with the 2 old dears stuffing my face.

She told them off for moving me from the platform (go mother).

No point to this really. Just made me happy remembering the Spangles. (They get a capital "S" they were so important).

Gruntfuttock Fri 02-Aug-13 15:18:48

Rufus so do I. blush

Gruntfuttock Fri 02-Aug-13 15:19:16

Bugger, that was meant to be a grin

LingDiLong Fri 02-Aug-13 15:25:43

How very odd of her! She cared enough to stop and ask why he was crying but then got the answer that he wasn't and couldn't see a parent so she walked on?! Why bother asking why he was crying in the first place? Bonkers.

I'd have certainly stayed with him but if you didn't show up after a few minutes I'd have taken him into the cafe to alert the staff in there.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Fri 02-Aug-13 15:36:10

Glad my inappropriate tampon insertion has provided light relief. Other wise I'd have to pull out (of) the thread

cushtie335 Fri 02-Aug-13 15:36:26

thebody glad someone else's dc did this! She used to do it when she was bored, hence Asda. Worst one was in an Aquarium in Portugal. She didn't factor in the lack of English speaking staff at the Customer Service Desk and that put the wind up her a bit! Getting the wrist strap put paid to her "antics" until she was old enough to realise it was totally out of order.

SirChenjin Fri 02-Aug-13 15:37:18

I've always told my children to stay where they are, that I will eventually find them, not to let an adult take them anywhere as that adult could be playing a trick on them but instead ask the adult to call the police.

I'm a bit worried that a lot of you seem to be saying that you would move the child, albeit to a place of safety. Gosh, I don't know what to say to them now sad

LingDiLong Fri 02-Aug-13 15:44:31

I guess the problem Sir Chenjin is how long do you stay there before you accept you need to do something a bit more proactive? In the situation the OP describes I'd probably be there with between 3 and 6 children, some of whom are small and would be trying to run off themselves. I wouldn't be able to wait there indefinitely. If I had another adult with me, I'd probably send them to get a member of staff.

I would always stay with the child, but I can think of lots of reasons why this lady wouldn't. Apart from anything else, he was outside a cafe. She may well have thought that he was safe there, and although his mum would doubtless be along shortly, if she wasn't then then the people in the cafe would look after him.

I remember being on Weymouth beach a few years ago, now and finding a toddler (about 2yo) crying at the waterside. He couldn't see his parents, so I made a big show of asking everyone in the area and then sitting him on my shoulders, again making a real show of looking for his parents. It took about 15 minutes to find his rather frantic parents, who were no-where near where I had found him, he must have wandered quite a long way on his own. They seemed very grateful.

On the other hand, I remember when DS2 was small (3ish), leaving him looking at kids videos and walking round the other side of the display. Next minute he was screaming the place down "MUMMY". I went round and there was a lady holding his hand. She gave me a glare and said (quite aggressively) "is he your little boy, do you realise I could have walked out of the store with him?" My answer was "not making that noise you wouldn't", to this day I have no idea whether she tried, or whether her intentions were honourable.

ineedtogetoutmore Fri 02-Aug-13 15:55:57

I would have stayed and if I couldnt for any reason I would have taken him to the staff in the cafe area and asked staff to contact park rangers / police.

In saying that I once found a lost child in a shopping center he was hysterical I couldn't find his family so decided to take him to security (he was about 2 years old) I tried to hold his hand and he freaked so I tried directing him to the security office pretty much likesa sheep dog would with a sheep except I was trying to juggle a pram and toddler on reins at the same time too but he was screaming his head off. I'm sure i either looked like a terrible mother or a bloody kidnapper after very quickly realising this was not going to work I took him in the nearest shop and dumped him with a sales was bloody.embarrassing!

QuintessentiallyOhDear Fri 02-Aug-13 15:59:22

Hopefully your child has now learnt that if he scoots ahead, he will lose sight of you, till next time.

ineedtogetoutmore Fri 02-Aug-13 16:01:12

Meant to add I would usual stay in the same place but this kid wouldn't stay put and kept wondering near the door. I don't know how long he had been crying and looking lost for though everyone else was just bloody staring at him like he had two heads when he was quote obviously distressed and lost

Brodicea Fri 02-Aug-13 16:05:25

My mum once tried to help a lost child (just bent down and asked him if he was lost) and the mum charged up and had a HUGE go at her as if she was a child-snatcher. I am a bit wary of approaching other peoples kids because of this.
Plus bear in mind you were right next to a playground, so she would presume you were nearby.

Caboodle Fri 02-Aug-13 16:45:13

I would have stayed with your DC and only after a longish wait would've taken DC to staff; but eventually I would have moved DC and, I suppose, passed on the responsibility. Not sure if I am in the right or wrong about this though. However, 'are you then' is a teeny bit odd.

SirChenjin Fri 02-Aug-13 17:17:25

I know - it can be difficult to know how long to wait with a child, as it would be impossible to wait for hours. I'll have to rethink my advice to the DCs smile

somewhereaclockisticking Fri 02-Aug-13 17:24:19

I would have stayed to make sure you were along in a minute because I am completely paranoid about people who are out just looking for possible "opportunities" - but I can understand that some people may not want to stay with a child alone in case their actions are seen as suspicious - it's a difficult situation. You don't want to appear to be interfering because some mothers don't take too kindly to you hovering around their child when their child is in their sight (even if said child is crying because they can't see mum) but then when I thnk of Jamie Bulger and the amount of people who saw him crying and just let him walk on with those 2 boys (of course their story sounded plausible - I'm his older brother....)

SirChenjin how old are your DCs, I've written my mobile number on my 4yo's hand if I am in a big, busy park/ beach and think that there is a possibility that she might wander off. Not that I don't watch her, but it's just a precaution.

Greydog Sat 03-Aug-13 09:34:36

I found a liitle girl one night on a car park in a shopping mall. DH was so glad I was with him as he said he wouldn't have approached her. We took her to the first shop, (i was scared she be knocked over) they called security, who, when they arrived didn't speak English. I refused to let her go with them, but went along as well. Mum turned up, took her and left. Nothing else. It upset me for ages as anything could have happened to her, and I thought what a workd we live in when adults are too afraid to help. I expect the lady with the dog was concerned her actiosn would be seen as suspicious, and especially if you're male

Turniptwirl Sat 03-Aug-13 11:18:02

I would have spoken to him and if I couldn't see a parent after a few minutes would've taken him to the cafe staff.

I think asking if he's ok then walking off is a bit odd tbh, I think most people would either observe from a distance, alert the cafe staff or just plain ignore him if they weren't intending to stay with him

MidniteScribbler Sat 03-Aug-13 11:22:10

I wouldn't have walked away from a lost child, although if I were in a genuine rush and there was a 'safe' option - police, shopping centre management, security guard, store/restaurant then I may hand the child over to them. They would likely have better resources for tracking down a lost parent than me anyway.

Mimishimi Sat 03-Aug-13 11:38:36

YABU because she probably did see you in the distance and knew you would be coming along in a moment. I have stayed with lost children but if I could see someone who most likely was their mum in the distance, I might leave them too like she did.

Jan49 Sat 03-Aug-13 12:17:55

I would hesitate to speak to a child because I think a parent would probably come along and criticise me for talking to their child or tell me their child was fine and I was interfering.

The only times I've ever helped a child in trouble, the parent has then arrived and completely ignored me, never thanked me or shown that they cared or were concerned for their child. If the child is older than a toddler, I'd assume the parents were happy with him/her to be out alone because some parents are. So I'd be very hesitant to speak to a child who looked about 7. As you say the woman had a dog, maybe she felt unable to stay with a child in case the dog frightened him or a parent said "how dare you go near my child with your dog!"

mirry2 Sat 03-Aug-13 12:54:52

I don't understand why people would be more concerned about the possibility of negative reaction from the mother than helping a child. What's a few cross words?

SoupDragon Sat 03-Aug-13 12:56:49

I would be annoyed at myself for letting him get where he couldn't see me and at him for going out of sight and panicking, given his age.

PresidentServalan Sat 03-Aug-13 13:17:55

A friend of mine saw a lost child, kept an eye on her from a distance - after about 10 mins he approached her and asked if she was okay - the mother appeared and went mad at him. So no, even as a woman I don't think I would get involved.

LoveSewingBee Sat 03-Aug-13 13:25:46

Not read the whole thread.
I would have stayed. However, parents can get very aggressive if you stay with/talk to their lost child.

Recently I walked with my family on the beach. I saw a little girl wandering around very close to the surf. I watched her and she then followed a little boy. A father appeared and grabbed the little boy. I asked if the little girl was with him, he said no and left with the boy. The girl was crying by now. I asked whether she could see her father/mother anywhere. We then started walking back where there are some beach establishments, often stopping to look around for her parents. Finally a very angry woman approached, who turned out to be the mother. This girl was probably about 1.5 to 2 years (still in nappy, not talking yet), very close to the surf, the mother was extremely angry with me.

So I do understand that not all people would be willing to help.

Gruntfuttock Sat 03-Aug-13 13:28:30

What did she say LoveSewingBee?

LoveSewingBee Sat 03-Aug-13 13:37:07

That I should leave her child alone and she would report me to police (mind you, no police in sight otherwise I would obviously have handed the girl to the police).

I told her we had been looking for her and was pleased we found her. She was virtually spitting at me out of anger. She said she had the child in her sight all the time, hard to believe imo plus the child was way way to close to the surf, she could easily have been dragged away by the sea.

Gruntfuttock Sat 03-Aug-13 13:52:39

God, what a vile woman. So she could see her toddler not only dangerously near the water but also crying, could she? Hmmmm. I would have been shaking with anger in your place, being met with such aggression for caring about the safety of her tiny child.

Thumbwitch Sat 03-Aug-13 14:00:47

LoveSewingBee, that's terrible! What an idiotic woman she was - she could have lost her child in a split second. When DS1 was about that age, we went walking on the beach and DH was being a bit slack about holding his hand - DS1 trotted into the water and fell straight over, because the water sucks the sand away from under the feet of course - DH was close enough to scoop him up immediately though. If you couldn't even see the woman, there is very little chance that she'd have got to her DD in time to save her if she'd run into the water and fallen over. sad So sad that some people are so stupid when it comes to water safety. angry

mirry2 Sat 03-Aug-13 14:09:39

People can be vile but I'd rather be on the end of their tongue than not help a child who seems lost or distressed.

Jan49 Sat 03-Aug-13 15:31:00

Mirry2, what about when the parent accuses you of trying to kidnap their child and calls the police? Or punches you? Would you still feel comfortable that you did the right thing in approaching a lost child?

Turniptwirl Sat 03-Aug-13 16:03:12

To the PP who tells their child to stay put, if I tried to take a child to a safe place and they said they had been told never to go with strangers I would tell them to stay exactly where they were (barring immediate danger) and I would go let the relevant authority know (cafe in this case, lifeguard, security guard etc). Better to look a bit stupid when they came to investigate and the child has gone than to try and drag a kicking screaming child! Again I would only do this if there was no sign of the parents after waiting a few minutes.

quoteunquote Sat 03-Aug-13 18:23:21

From an early age I trained my children to stay still if they felt lost, especially in busy places, as two people moving around decreases the chances of being found,

We chatted about alerting police or shop staff to their situation,

but being overly worried as you do about other people's intentions,

I had over emphasised the not going anywhere with people (not just strangers), and told them to stay put and loudly announce that they had lost their parent/carer,

This all worked well until DS2 came along, who the moment he could not see the adult he was with (usually he was just facing the other way and the parent was a few yards away), would foghorn, "I am lost, I am lost, I am lost, I am lost", none stop, only breaking from full pitch "I am lost" to an even louder "YOU ARE NOT MY MUMMY/DADDY" at any adult that tried to approach him.

on the few times he managed to be in the wrong supermarket aisle, you would hear an explosion of sound, and by the time you got there he would be in the middle of a circle of very concerned adults.

mirry2 Sat 03-Aug-13 18:47:05

Jan the thought of that wouldn't deter me. There've been too many tragedies where adults have looked the other way.

ineedtogetoutmore Sat 03-Aug-13 19:16:46

I can't remember who wrote it now as I've just read the whole thread...but whoever said they write their mobile number on dc's hand when they're out at the beech etc. thanks for that great tip it's such a good idea my dd isn't walking yet but this is something i really worry about I'll always try and remeber that now in case she ever escapes my sight.

MiaowTheCat Sat 03-Aug-13 19:20:20

I've been sworn at for dealing with a lost child before - outside a school, she recognised me as I'd been doing supply in the class, and having been separated from her parents in the after-school scrum, she came over to me as I was leaving... took her back in side to the office, they said they'd look after her so I left again, and ran into her parents - told them where she was, that she'd done the sensible thing and gone for a known adult... absolute utter gobful of abuse that now they'd have to take 20 steps to get inside school again and how inconvenient it was for them.

Fuzzysnout Sat 03-Aug-13 21:02:59

I would always stop for a 'lost' child and have done in the past, however having seen the rabid hysteria on MN regarding dogs I would certainly think twice if I had a dog with me.

SirChenjin Sat 03-Aug-13 22:31:20

No rabid hysteria I've ever seen, just people who are fed up of dogs when they are out of the control or leaping up and knocking children over whilst the drippy dog owner is whining about how the dog is just being friendly

opilo Sat 03-Aug-13 22:38:56

I would but sadly I wouldn't advise a man to.

BornThisCrazy Sun 04-Aug-13 00:32:24


Not exactly like your situation, but I was on my way home from work during lunch break once, on foot as lived literally 5 minutes away. A little girl of about 4 or 5 who was playing in her backstreet with friends began to follow me as I passed them. I didn't realise until I was nearly outside my house and glanced back, there she was skipping along behind me. shock she had somehow managed to cross two very busy roads on her own. I wasn't sure what to do, she simply went and sat on my neighbours doorstep, so I assumed she knew them. She wasn't upset or crying. I quickly Wolfed down lunch as I was worried about her and I wasn't happy about leaving her sat there. Stepped back out a few minutes later and she was still sat on the doorstep. I asked her if she wanted to go home to which she nodded, so I grabbed her hand and took her back to the street I had seen her playing. Her dm and dgm were frantically looking for her when we got there, and were so grateful when I relayed to them what had happened.

Sometimes dc will do things like wander off, I would hope an adult would help my child if they were lost/in danger. That little girl could have been seriously hurt, or worse due to the busy roads. She could have followed a paedophile or pervert. They do exist so no I'm not being hysterical for those who may think it.

Littleen Sun 04-Aug-13 20:53:56

Would probably not have stayed around, but told the kiddo to sit in the cafe and wait - I am naive enough to think that would be safe for a 7 year old. Had the child been 5 or under I would have stayed smile I think this has a lot to do with how people are brought up in terms of what they think is reasonable for a child to cope with. If child was injured or in the middle of nowhere, it'd be a different situation.

NarkyNamechanger Sun 04-Aug-13 21:07:19

Thanks everyone.

To clarify, I'm not a 'peado on every corner' thinking person and I have no problem with my children exploring out of my sight if that's what they feel comfortable with. Ds2 is just getting to that stage, happy to disappear off in a large park area where he knows where I'll be waiting for example. This just threw him a bit because he hadn't actually gone out of sight. We were on a very long straight and he had a bright t-shirt on so I could see him (too far and busy to shout though) but he stopped and heart flipped when he realised there was no longer a straight eye line back to me.

He's also small for his age so I would've thought she might think he were younger than 7. I'm just overwhelmingly surprised that she cared enough to stopped but then left him crying.

Oh well he's fine of course. My own thoughts are that they should wait where they are for a while but if they feel too scared to then into the cafe is next best thing. Screaming is always allowed if they aren't sure about a stranger, trust their tummies (instincts) and they know my mobile number by heart.

fluffandnonsense Sun 04-Aug-13 21:12:44

I'd have stayed. I've once followed a young child who was clearly lost but wouldn't let me talk to him. We were in a busy arena so I followed him until I saw two rather unfazed looking parents gazing round (from the bar) for their lost son who then ran over to them. I was tempted to give them a piece of my mind but was just glad he was safe and reunited. He must have been about 3.

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