Nightmare DLP/Paris(17 Posts)
N/c'd for this.
Just to warn others not to be as hapless as us.
Stayed at dlp, decided midweek to get the rer train to Paris Charles De Gaulle from dlp station. All went great. Had a fabulous sightseeing trip on a hop on hop off bus. Decided to head back, same underground station. Our dd (10) only slightly ahead. Anyway a packed double decker train arrived she jumped on I was right behind and paused fleetingly, next thing doors slid shut and off she shot. Me and dh stood on platform horrified.
Thankfully someone on the train could see she was distraught and got off with her at the next stop, we waited a horrible 10 mins not knowing how she was, it was terrifying. Next train came we got on and just hoped she was at the next station, we found her on the platform thank god.
The moral of the story is of course to keep tight hold of hands as I should have done, I take full responsibility - but it was all so quick, no platform staff the doors just shut and off she disappeared.
So, if anyone travelling on the Paris underground just be aware its all a bit quicker than the London tube.
I heard a similar story from a friend only a week ago, also going from CDG to DLP. Hers was a near-miss with a 4yr old - she grabbed her just in time and some other passengers managed to help her wrestle the doors open. Heart stopping I can imagine!
Really? I've been beating myself up about what a totally useless parent I was, dh was there but I was the one with dd, he was following.
It was just the most heart stopping thing seeing dd face at the train door window in tears as she went out of view. I'd told her numerous times not to talk to people she didn't know, thank God she did though and followed the man on the trains advice.
Paris rer and metro, lots of security with guns, no helpful platform staff with a whistle!!
Thank God she is 10 and not 5! Doors can shut quickly on trains anywhere, even on the tube in London. My handbag was in a carriage once, but I was stuck on the platform. Someone forced the door open and released my arm and my bag! There are times when DC's taking the initiative is not so good! A good learning experience for the future. Parisians not very helpful, full stop!
This is definitely in my top ten nightmare scenarios. Ds and I have rehearsed what he should do if we get separated on the Tube platform, i.e. if he gets on and I don't or vice versa. He finds it highly tedious that I keep reminding him about it!
You must have been beside yourself - the wait for the next train must have seemed endless
I traveled a lot on public transport when my children were that age, and by 10 they'd been on some of the more, er, full-on subway systems (London regularly, but also New York and Tokyo, the last of which is the real full-fat, two sugars, caffeinated public transport experience).
We had a very simple system. Before each journey, we agreed where we would meet if we got separated. When they were little "on the platform at the first station the train stops at", but when they got older "on the platform at the station we're heading for", with a complete backstop of "find someone in uniform". Children aren't going to come to harm on crowded public transport, but if they don't know what to do they're going to be frightened.
It's also worth discussing this sort of thing in advance so that should the worst happen, your dc know what to do... ie get to the next station, get off, move away from the platform so they are safe but stay in the same place and that you will follow on the next train. You don't want them thinking that they need to get to the end destination on their own before meeting up with you or that they need to try to find a train to get back to you while you are on your way following them...
Also - if they do need help with something then to look for someone in a uniform - first off in this instance somebody from the metro, or a policeman and so on.
And I know that mobiles don't usually work underground but make sure they know your mobile number or have it written down and with them. I've got a cheap phone from e2mobiles - a simple nokia phone with a month's battery life that cost me less than a fiver plus a tenner of credit - and when ds goes out with dh to something like a rugby match, he takes it with him. It's rugged and hopefully won't be a target for phone thieves but if it does get lost
or put through the washing machine like the last one then it's not the end of the world.
I don't agree with mobiles or smartphones for kids this age to have as an everyday thing when they don't need them or just use them to text their mates - but at times like this when they're out with you but there's a chance they could be separated from you, it's reassuring.
Phone has our home number, dh and my mobile numbers and a few relatives plugged into it, and in the rugby game example, it also had the mobile number of dh's friend in it.
and when it's not being used like that, I leave it in my handbag for those instances when my iphone runs out of charge again - it can also be used as a torch and according to ds has a good old style game on it so can be used to entertain too so is handy for me too
sorry that it happened but glad that there was a happy ending and hopefully it's a lesson learnt for you (and readers of the thread!) that will mean that you'll be prepared in the future so nothing worse will happen!
You're right, myr and zip I could kick myself, safety conscious as I try to be, it still happened. She has a cheap phone, it was unhelpfully in my bag in case it got snatched.
I don't know why it never occurred to me that one of us may end up at the platform, the other on a departing train. I've always said when we're out anywhere busy if anyone gets lost, stop and ask someone who looks like staff.
I'd had hold of her hand non stop around the champs elysees, and it was that horrible split second thing on the platform where I thought I was right behind her.
Now yes, we have a rather belated plan of what to do if it happens again, get off at next stop and sit tight.
trib I was beside myself, when I saw her on the platform as I we arrived I burst into tears, I know she's 10 not 5 but it did give us a fright, think it was the foreign city rather than just the train it makes you feel a bit more vulnerable.
Yes, my plan with ds is:
- if I end up on the train and he doesn't, he is to wait on that platform and I will come back for him
- if he ends up on the train I don't, he is to get off at the next station and wait on the platform and I will come and get him.
If in doubt, approach someone in uniform.
I would certainly have been crying by the time I got to ds, and probably have tried to give him a piggy back for the rest of the journey just to be certain where he was
DS has known 'the drill' since he was tiny (we live in London). Get off at the next station and DO NOT MOVE until I get on the next train/bus/tram to fetch you.
Scary stuff though.
This happened to us with a bus in London a few years ago. DD1 (6) and DS (4) jumped on to the back of the old style London bus, but I was struggling with DD2 in a buggy and the bus moved off before I got on. A lovely lovely young man (a stranger) ran alongside the bus and when it stopped at the next stop held it until I caught up (in tears). Never been so grateful . . .
We live in London (and visit Paris a lot) but have never had this chat - eldest DD is 7 now so time I did - will do it tomorrow. Thank you for posting OP
This happened to me on the London Underground when I was 9. Me and 6 or 7 smaller Brownies got on, adults and the rest did not. Little ones were crying and panicking but I just got us all off at the next station and we stood still, facing the space where the doors would be. Brownie Owl appeared on the next train, and looked v releaved to see our faces
I got an award for being so sensible
Aww trinity that's great that you were so calm. jynx good to know not just me .
I felt an right blithering idiot, checking phone purse etc instead of noticing the glaringly obvious that DD was on the train . In my poor defence I'm sure Paris doors close quicker and trains hang around even less than in London, any Parisian mumsnetters correct me if I'm wrong maybe just seemed like in the panic.
It had a positive effect, in that I was feeling a bit wrung out with all the dlp queues, but those long, long minutes waiting for the next train and the feeling of dread put it all in perspective and I happily queued away with a big smile once back at dlp!!
It's not you. The doors on the RER open and shut much faster than the doors on the tube. We nearly lost one or other of our kids in the same manner when we were there recently.
Honestly ? I can understand your panic but kids using public transport even with adults , by the time they get to age 10 kids need a bit of training eg " if you get on an I don't get off at the next station sit on the platform and wait we will find you.
We had a similar scenario when dd2 was 9. She got on the train and her big sis ( travelling with her ) missed it and I didn't realise. I was very panicked but she just got off at the usual station and asked the ticket office lady to ring me as she knew my mobile.
Glad it all worked out fine. Big up the fact that it was scary but actually a huge success as her brain was working well and she did the logical thing. Sometimes you have to have a little trial to know you can trust yourself in a tricky unusual situation and she can!
Yeah you're right thea they do need a bit of training. At 10 she is sensible, goes out to the local shops and obviously walks to and from school alone. I like to push a bit of thinking on feet and she usually knows what to do if things go pear shaped.
It was because it was Paris and all very unfamiliar, she didn't know who to ask to help on the train, everything happened so fast and I wasnt even sure what or where the next station was.
It is fine, she isn't scarred for life. It was just a word of warning for others if going on Paris underground its much speedier than in the UK so don't dither on platform as I did
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