Milwaukee is the city of festivals during the Summer and Fall, and many families want to get out and enjoy these fun-filled events.
But things can quickly turn scary if you lose track of one of your kids.
Here are some child safety tips when heading out into a big crowd.
Before you leave:
1. Dress the part
Consider dressing your children in bright or easily recognizable clothing so it will be easier to spot them if they wander off.
2. Tattoo your child
Not permanently, of course! Some parents choose to write their young child's name and number on their arm in Sharpie in case they get lost. This helps officials contact parents if they need to.
3. Work with children to memorize their full name and phone number.
4. Set clear expectations
Before you get to the park, remind your children how important it is to stay close to you.
You can say something like "There are going to be a lot of people, and your responsibility is to be able to see me and me to be able to see you. Otherwise, we will have to hold hands or even leave."
5. Play the "What am I wearing" game?
On the way to the event, play a game to memorize what everyone is wearing. It will help you recognize each other in a crowd.
6. Explicitly teach children what to do if they get lost.
Whatever your plan, teach it clearly to your children.
For young kids, you might tell them to stay right where they are and never exit the festival. (My son's daycare tells the children to get our their imaginary super glue and put it on the bottom of their feet so they don't move from where they are.)
Some experts suggest teaching them to call your real name instead of mom or dad.
When you arrive
7. Find a wristband
Many festivals provide wristbands that have your child's identification and your cell phone number. Check their website ahead of time to find out where to find these wristbands, or make your own.
8. Identify helpers
Point out uniformed trusted adults to children when you arrive at your destination. For example, point out State Fair police and vendor employees.
You might also include "another mommy with kids" as someone your child can ask for help.
9. Identify a meeting spot
For older kids, you might consider locating a meeting spot to go to if they get lost. Be sure it is well-marked and easy to find.
For example, there are three designated Reconnection Centers at State Fair. They are located in the Exposition Center lobby, the Guest Services Pavilion and on North Grandstand Avenue next to Bell Ambulance.
10. Would you track your child?
Is technology wonderful or creepy? You can arm your child with a GPS tracker so that if they get lost, you'll know right where they are.
For example, check out the GizmoPal 2 by LG - Perfect for kids who are old enough to play with technology but are still too young for a phone of their own. It allows your kids to make/receive calls at the touch of a button and features GPS so you can see where your kids are at all times.
Do you have any other safety tips? Let us know about them by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.