When Your Child Goes MIssing

After working as a professional nanny for more than a decade, you can imagine that child safety has become one of the guiding factors in parenting my own children.

But even with the best precautions, things can go wrong.   

We’d just put the finishing touches on our new outdoor play area and added a small plastic sandbox for the children to play in. My sister-in-law was visiting with my niece and nephew and our children were having a grand time playing together.

The kids were playing in the plastic bordered play area, complete with 6 inches of playground certified woodchips, and I turned to look at my nephew and turned back to look at my son and he was gone. Two feet from me and two seconds later, my two year old son was missing.

He always comes when I call him, so I immediately started calling his name. I looked in the play house, in the toy box and under all the structures where he could hide. He was gone.

My sister in law started looking in front of the house and my daughter in the house while I called 911.

Fortunately, while I was on the phone for what felt like a lifetime, he reappeared as quickly as he had vanished. He had been hiding under the sandbox cover.  

If you find your child missing, there are three important things you should do immediately:

1. Search in any places that your child may hide. Don’t underestimate the creativity of a child. I have friends who have found their little ones sleeping in large appliances. Be sure to look in laundry piles, washing machines, dryers, inside vehicles and any in other good hiding spots.

2. Let everyone around you know. If you are in a department store, notify management. If you are at the beach, tell a life guard. Alert those around you that your child is missing and ask for help.

3. Notify the authorities. Don’t hesitate to call your local authorities.  As soon as you realize your child is missing call. The quicker you call law enforcement, the quicker they can respond.

While you hope that your child never goes missing, it’s good to be reminded of what to do if he does.