Family Outing Leaves Young Child In A Frightening Situation

As parents, we are often juggling multiple responsibilities, and none of us are perfect.But we must always remain vigilant, especially when on an outing with our little ones.

Young children don’t usually have any fear or awareness of what can happen in the outside world, and they can wander off in an instant.

Such was the case recently when a young child went missing.  Except, the sad fact is that in this instance, the parents did not even realize he was gone until the next morning.

A 3-year-old boy was left behind in a corn maze in Salt Lake City, Utah.  While these fun fall mazes are meant to challenge families to find their way out, this young child apparently wandered away from his family and became hopelessly lost.

The child was thankfully found by someone at the farm wandering around the entrance to the maze — frightened and crying — but his family was nowhere to be seen.

Café Mom reported:

At first [the owners of the maze] thought the boy’s parents must have been just as upset as he was, and looking for him too. They got the boy settled with a lollipop and a blanket to help him stay warm.

“He was crying and upset and obviously scared,” said Kendall Schmidt, co-owner of the corn maze. “We were trying to calm him down.”

 He wasn’t able to tell them his name, but he was able to communicate his age. The quick-thinking [owner] grabbed a bullhorn and headed out into the maze himself to try to find the little boy’s family. He looked for hours, but the family was nowhere to be found.

According to police, who came to keep watch over the boy while his parents’ whereabouts were investigated, the farm owners waited until the maze had closed and everyone had cleared the area – and still no one came looking for the child.

Café Mom continued:

“It became evident that they were not in the maze, so we just kept waiting and hoping that the parents would realize that they left the child,”the farm’s owner said.

According to officials, the following morning, the child’s mother woke up and realized that he wasn’t at home and that he might have been left behind at the corn maze. She called police just before 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, 12 hours after the boy was found wandering through the corn solo. 

While we all make mistakes as parents, it is hard to fathom how a mother would not notice her small child missing for even a short time – let alone, overnight.

Thankfully, this story had a happy ending with the child being found safe and relatively unharmed – but it could have been much worse.

And while there was obvious negligence on the part of the parents, in this case, the story serves as a warning to prepare our children in case they are ever separated from us in public.

When out with our young children, there are some things we can do to prepare them if they ever get lost – and as soon as young children are able to remember, it is crucial to teach them some safety tips.

Netmums suggests:

It’s a great idea for you to teach your child their full name, address and phone number as soon as possible. If they are able to memorize these details they’ll be able to provide other adults with information that can help them be reunited with their parent or caregiver as quickly as possible.

It’s also vital your child knows where to go for help should they become lost. It’s important children can make the distinction between a potentially dangerous stranger and a ‘safe’ stranger, such as another mom with children or a police officer.

Other good tips for keeping your little ones safe include the following from Netmums:

  • Arrange a meeting point which your child should go to if they get lost. This should be a busy, safe place.  For example, in big department stores it’s useful to show your child where customer service is located so they know where to go if they get lost. It’s helpful if they can identify a particular store’s staff uniform too, so they can find help quickly.
  • When visiting very busy places, such as theme parks or beaches, be sure you know where the lost children meeting point is and the procedure employed for dealing with lost children.
  • If you’re going on a big day out to somewhere unfamiliar you might prefer to dress your child in bright, easily recognizable clothing, perhaps with a name tag sewn inside. This can provide a key identifier if your child gets lost. You could also take a photo on your mobile of your children before you leave so you have a visual reference to show others, and remind yourself of what your child is wearing – it’s quite common for parents to go blank when asked what their child is wearing.
  • Be especially vigilant in places that provide a quick getaway for potential abductors, such as gas stations – keep your children close to you at all times.

While the case of this young boy being left behind in the corn maze is an extreme one, and most parents would immediately begin looking for their child, it is best to keep these tips in mind to prevent a possible tragedy.

In the case of the little boy in Utah, Café Mom reported:

DCFS is investigating what led to the child’s being left behind and why his parents didn’t realize their mistake sooner. “It’s a process. We don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but we are also concerned mainly about the safety of the child,” said DCFS.

What are your thoughts on this incident?  Can you imagine how anyone could lose their child and not notice them missing for this length of time?

What have you taught your children to do if they get lost?

Share your comments with us.

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