The best reason never to let your child out of your sightMarch 27, 2012 at 10:30 am | Posted in Daily Life | 5 Comments
Tags: abductions, missing child, snatched children, supermarkets
I was talking as you do with friends over lunch at the weekend about how life changes when you reach the toddler years.
Our three-year old for example simply HAS to go and tell people, usually in the shops; sometimes the library or doctors surgery, about his football trainers and Ben 10 socks. The conversation usually starts ‘mummy, I’ll be back in a minute, I just have to go and tell that lady something’. So I let him go. I watch as he wanders confidently over to his target and smile as I see a slightly confused yet heart-warmed expression cross their face.
Sometimes though we reach the dairy aisle in Tesco’s and he declares that he just needs to go and tell the fish counter lady something. And that’s it, he’s gone. So me and my typically wonky-wheeled trolley go scooting off behind him, trying to recall this tear away chatterbox.
When we got onto the topic of supermarkets, my friend shared a chilling tale. Whilst I accept that such stories get twisted and accentuated along the way, this is something all parents need to hear. This is where it gets serious.
A security briefing from a London Sainsbury’s store alerted other stores across the UK of a recent situation regarding a missing child. A mother lost her young daughter, looking around in the fruit and veg aisle, she was there one minute and gone the next.
The store was alerted and immediately locked down the entire place. No-one in, no-one out until the child was found. Now, we live in the countryside – rural Oxfordshire and I’ve seen a parent distraught with worry searching for a lost child in our local supermarket and it wasn’t locked down that’s for sure – she was outside sobbing, frantically turning from left to right hoping that being at the entrance gave her the most hope. Luckily her daughter was inside and found by a staff member. I sobbed next to her mother when they were reunited, imagining what she’d just been through.
And the child from Sainsbury’s was found too – safe and sound. But it almost wasn’t the case.
Because she was found in the toilets. She was found with a Polish couple who were cutting her hair off and changing her clothes. They were minutes or less from making an escape with her.
Can you imagine what would have happened to that family?
This is why you can never turn your back. You can never let an inquisitive child go and choose what treat they want. It’s a sad fact but it’s true. You can never let them run ahead to the cereal aisle. You can never even just have a second to yourself to think what else you were supposed to be buying. Unless you’ve got one eye on them the whole time. It’s tough, but it’s part of being a parent. We’d rather go home with a screaming child, face red and puffy because we wouldn’t let them have the Dr Who comic that costs £4.99, than go home alone.
It shouldn’t be this way, should it? But it is. It’s terrifying but it’s true. I for one will never let my son loiter in the toy section while I look at the clothes in TK Maxx again. Sounds trivial but it might not be.