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Kern County Sheriff's Office - Main
Wednesday September 10th, 2014 :: 10:14 a.m. PDT


"Child Safety Tips" from the Kern County Sheriff's Office

The Kern County Sheriff’s Office would like to offer some tips for parents and children to keep in mind as the fall season approaches. Milder fall weather in Kern County often brings with it school carnivals, festivals, and the ever popular Kern County Fair. In 2013, 457 children were lost or separated from their parents at the Kern County Fair. It is important that parents take certain precautions in public places with their children, and children know what to do if they become lost. Here are some safety tips to help prevent losing a child in a public place:

Dress your child in bright colors. Bright, neon, or unique patterns such as bold stripes or polka dots can make your child(ren) stand out in a crowd. Neon colors stand out more than muted tones. Dressing siblings in matching hats or shirts can help a parent remember what to look for if a child suddenly gets lost.

Have a recent digital photo of your child on your smart phone or camera. If possible, take a picture of your child that day in the outfit they are wearing should they become lost in a large crowd and you need assistance locating your child.

Before outings in busy or crowded places, run through “what if” scenarios with your child if they should become lost. Discuss before reaching your destination what each family member should do if they become separated from the group. Some parents suggest children search out a cashier, a police officer, or a mother with children if they should become lost and panicked. Discuss various meeting points with children if they are old enough to find a set location on their own. If children are young teach them to stay put and not wander off once they realize they have become separated from the group.

Teach your child to never walk away with someone they don’t know who tries to take them someplace. Practice various scenarios for your child of what they should do if this should happen. Teaching a child to yell loudly “this isn’t my mommy or daddy”, or “help me, this is a stranger” will alert people nearby. Children simply yelling or throwing tantrums does not alert other people of a possible abduction because kids yelling or fussing is not an uncommon occurrence in crowded places.

Make sure child(ren) know a parent or guardian’s full name and cell phone number. Quiz children before you reach your destination to make sure they have the information memorized. Often younger kids only know a parent as “Mom” or “Dad”, but if a loudspeaker or PA system needs to be used, a full name is helpful. If a child is too young to remember a parents name or phone number it can be written on a hand or arm in permanent ink.

If in a group with multiple children or multiple adults, assign one adult to watch one child at all times. Don’t make assumptions that another adult has the responsibility of watching the children. If the assigned adult needs time off from watching a child, he or she should assign another adult to take over. Get verbal confirmation from another adult that they are watching the child, and confirmation on exactly what child they are committed to watching. This is especially true when playing in or near water, as drowning’s occur very near to adults at pool parties because adults assume someone else is watching the children.

Maintain “touch” supervision with smaller children and visible supervision with older children. A small child can dart out in front of a car, around a corner, or become lost in a crowd very easily. “Touch” supervision requires the child remain close enough for an adult to touch at all times. Holding hands is a very effective approach for some parents. For older kids, maintain a line of sight on them at all times. Teach them that when you can’t see them clearly they have gone too far.

As frightening as it is to lose a child, remain calm and think clearly. Report your child missing as soon as possible. Search out assistance from other adults in the group, law enforcement, and nearby employees. If near water, always check to make sure a child is not in the water first. If you are near vehicles always check to make sure a child did not accidentally climb in and become entrapped in the vehicle.

For any additional information on child safety or prevention tips, please contact the Kern County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Unit at or (661) 391-7559.

Kern County Sheriff's Office - Main
1350 Norris Rd
Bakersfield, CA 93308

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 661-391-7500

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