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How to Help a Lost Child

If you spotted a child who might be lost, would you know what to do?


lost child

You can best help a child who might be lost by following some basic guidelines.

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If you spot a child who seems to be alone and is upset, he may be lost. Here are some important ways you can help kids who may have become separated from their parent or caregiver.

  • Use your instinct. If you see a child who appears to be crying and does not have an adult around, ask her if she is lost. Keep in mind that the child might have been taught to never speak to strangers so you might not get an answer. Stay near the child until you can find the child’s parent or caregiver, and the child confirms that the person is her adult.

  • Find a way to help. Even if someone else seems to be already assisting the child, you can help out by calling the police or by enlisting the help of other adults who can find a security guard, store employee or someone else who might be able to help locate the child’s parent or caregiver. (If you are leaving the lost child with an adult to look for help yourself, make sure it is a woman, and preferably a mother with a child.)

  • Try to get some basic information. Ask the child if he knows his mother or father’s full name or either of their telephone numbers. (The child may have been taught not to give out that kind of information to strangers, so you can ask the child if he wants to use your cell phone to call her.) Encourage the child to try to remember where he last saw his parent or caregiver. Ask him to describe what he or she was wearing.

  • Stay where you are. Do not take the child do a different location to get help or to look for his parent since her parent is likely to be looking for her child and is not standing in one spot.

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