With summer on the way, many families will get out to explore amusement parks, beaches, fairs, and other popular venues. But when the sun comes out, so do the crowds. Large clusters of people can be chaotic and dangerous, and knowing the right precautions to take is important in order to protect yourself and your children from harm or loss.
Crowd Safety Tips for Children
Children are often the most at risk in a large crowd. When children become separated from their families, confusion can leave them vulnerable. Ensure your children's safety by preparing them with the following instructions and materials.
- Since children are often unable to remember their parents' telephone numbers, make sure your children will know how to contact you if they get lost. Write your phone number on an ID bracelet and attach it to your child's wrist, or use permanent marker to write it on one arm.
- Remind your children never to go to a parking lot if they lose you—this is a dangerous area that leaves them at risk for abduction or injury. Instead, instruct them to seek help from a security officer or, alternately, another mother with children. These are the people most likely to quickly and responsibly assist your child.
- Avoid dressing your children in clothing or a backpack that displays their names; children are more likely to trust an adult who knows their first name. Instead, pick out brightly colored clothing that is easy to recognize in a crowd. Take a picture of what your children are wearing so that you can easily show it to an on-site security service if needed.
- Give older kids a cell phone or two-way radio to use so that they can keep track of you throughout the day.
- As soon as you enter a park, beach, shopping mall, etc., indicate several landmarks that your children can distinguish as meeting points, should they become lost. Have them repeat what these are before continuing.
Crowds can be daunting, but they don't have to cause you anxiety if you prepare properly. Teaching your kids about personal safety and remaining vigilant of your surroundings can help you to relax and enjoy all the excitement that
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Crowds can also pose risks for adults. Awareness of your surroundings is key to safety when navigating a densely populated area.
- Security officers stationed in public spaces are trained to help you in an emergency. When you arrive at your destination, take note of the security officers protecting the area, their posts, and their uniforms. This will help you easily recognize them even under duress.
- Avoid ATMs in crowded areas. Close proximity to large crowds heightens your risk of unforeseen muggings or identity theft.
- Immediately locate exits in theme parks, arenas, and theaters that you can use to escape from a potentially dangerous situation. Knowing exits other than the main exit may be especially helpful.
- Respond quickly to an alarm or sign of emergency and leave immediately—don't pause to gather unnecessary belongings.
- If seated for a concert or sporting event, try not to sit in the middle of the aisle, as this often prevents you from making a quick exit in an emergency. Refrain from putting your personal belongings on the ground to keep them from being stolen or forgotten.
- Keep your wallet in a front pocket (preferably one with a zipper). If you use a purse, hold it close to your body where you can always see it.
- In case of a fire, remember that heat and smoke rise, and crouch down low to get oxygen. Do not attempt to put the fire out; that is the job of firefighters. Focus on finding an exit.
About U.S. Security Associates
U.S. Security Associates (USA) is one of North America's largest security companies, with 160 locally-responsive offices providing premier national security services and global consulting and investigations to customers in a range of industries. Recognized for world class customer service, leading-edge technology, and an enterprise approach to risk management, USA offers optimized security solutions to meet specific customer needs. USA is committed to building quality security and risk management programs that are Safe. Secure. Friendly.® The Securing Knowledge series is part of the extensive and growing library of reference and training tools that contribute to USA's award-winning customer service and benchmark security programs. USA's investment in training and development resources is reflected not only by BEST Awards from the American Society for Training & Development, consistent ranking on the Training magazine Top 125, and technology-driven quality management system, but also by the company's leadership team, security officers, and service excellence on a daily basis.