Dude, Where’s My Kid?

I check on my kids constantly. I’m a naturally anxious person, and it comes with the territory. When they’re snacking, I check to make sure they’re not choking. When they’re bathing, I check to make sure they’re not drowning. When they’re sleeping, I check to make sure they’re still breathing.

I’m sure it drives them nuts.

When we travel, I kick it up a notch. Because who needs trouble in a strange city or a foreign country, right? I watch them so closely, I almost don’t blink. And yet, I have twice managed to momentarily misplace my daughter on vacation.


The first time it happened, we were at the beach in England. It was a rare sunny day, and every square inch of sand was covered with people, towels, and toys. We were building a sand castle down by the water, and my daughter (who was four at the time) decided she needed another bucket. I let her walk alone back to our blanket to get it while I watched. One minute she was there, and the next she was gone. She turned up two minutes later—having veered slightly off-course, but they were two of the longest minutes of my life.

The next time we lost her was at freaking Disneyland, at the food court in Tomorrowland. My husband and daughter went to stand in line, while my son and I walked off to look for a table. At the last minute (without communicating to me his intention to do so), my husband sent my daughter after me. I thought she was with him. He thought she was with me. This time she was missing for five minutes.

Yes, we are still married.  Thanks for asking.

I’ve learned my lesson. Now whenever we go somewhere big, crowded, or foreign, I make my kids wear I.D. bracelets with my cell phone number written inside (including the international dialing code when we are overseas). I coach them constantly. What should you do if you think you are lost? Don’t wander, stay in one place. Who should you ask for help if you think you are lost? Someone who looks like a mother. What should you say to this motherish-looking person? I’m lost, please help me call my Mom.

I’m sure it drives them nuts.


Want to drive your own kids nuts?  Check out Safety Tats, a  new line of temporary i.d. tattoos for kids.  Three lucky Travel Savvy Mom readers will win a travel size 6-pack of Quick Stick Write-On Tattos.  Please leave a comment here by midnight 3/25, and specify Boy, Girl, or Boy/Girl combo.  U.S. only please.

Also, get 15% off your Safety Tat purchases $15 or more from 3/18/09–4/18/09 by entering this code at checkout: TravelSavvyMom09.

Good luck!



  1. says

    We actually never lost one of our kids in all of European travels, but once we lost a friend’s kid in Covent Gardens in London. Scariest 10 minutes of my life. We didn’t tell his mom for about 3 years.

    No safety tattoos needed here, though, so please don’t enter us in the drawing. My kids are old.

  2. Elizabeth says

    I almost got some of these safety tattoos before our trip to Mexico in December but thought about it so long it became too late to order them in time. These sound like a great idea for my two boys, since I refuse to put them on leashes. Thankfully we haven’t lost either of them, but I do remember getting lost and losing siblings under my care when I was younger (so scary!).

  3. Amy Canby says

    We lost Dawson on a deserted beach in Florida for what was probably less than a minute. It’s amazing how many terrifying thoughts can go through your head in such a short amount of time! We found him creeping across the sand in an attempt to sneak up on some seagulls. He had covered his wet body in sand to camouflage himself.

  4. Lani Asato says

    I could use these safety tattoos! I’m going to fly x-country as a solo parent with a 3yo and a 5yo this summer. Between their curious ways, our luggage and keeping track of shoes at security checkpoints, I would love to have them. Boy/girl combo would be great.

  5. says

    Ohhh, I love this idea! I can use it as a paranoid mommy. But can I also please mention that I worked at Disneyland through college? As a Cast Member (aka employee) whos job it was to be on radio and search out parents of missing children (yep, actually my job) this would have been the most helpful thing ever. Every parent traveling in large crowds needs something like this.

  6. says

    I had id bracelets made for the kids for just the same reason. In a pinch, though, if the kids don’t have them on and I have concerns, I’ve resorted to writing our cell phone number with a ballpoint pen on their stomach or ankle. It’s there if needed (until the next bath) but not visible to the average person. Our kids are old enough to tell someone how to find it.

  7. Diana says

    great idea! also, from where did you order the ID bracelets? the ones I’ve found via Google look like they’re made with a big velcro strap and look like they would be very warm and uncomfortable.

  8. says

    howlo! your confession about checking to see whether the kids are still breathing makes me smile. i catch my dog-ma doin’ this with me. well, i’m an old dog who’s almost been “lost” several times, so dog-ma worries.

    yes, i’m a dog. one who understands the anxiety humans have about losing loved ones. i grew up hearing about it. all dogs and cats grow up knowing that ID tags save lives. but do you think that all humans know this yet? nope.

    hey, this ID thing isn’t just impawtant fur vacations. e.g., during last season’s Atlantic hurricanes, did all the kids and pets have ID tags? i doubt it.

    every human ought to have a drawerful of those Child Safe ID bands and tattoos to slap on every dog, cat, child, woman, and man who’s going through a disaster. or going to the hospital. or going traveling. or going to the store for a quart of milk. . . . wait, i’ll leave off that last one; it sounds arfully paranoid.

    don’t worry ’bout entering me in the drawing. tattoos get lost in my furs. woof thanks.

  9. Aura says

    Lost my son on a trip to the city. I walked into the second set of doors to a store and thought he was behind me. He panicked and ran outside and down the block. Luckily I found him but he and I were both terrified. Now I write my number on a sticker in his shoe and tell him to find a mother if he gets lost. The boy/girl mix of tattoos would be great!

  10. Michelle says

    What a great idea. I will feel just a little bit better when we are in large place, ie Disenyland if my daughter has this on. I would love a girl pack, if I win.


  11. says

    Good idea! Better to wise. You have similarity with my Aunt. When we are in a travel or in a vacation every now and then she are fun to check as with our assign numbers.:)

  12. hetal g says

    I have lost my younger one, she wandered off out side the back yard when the whole family -friends were having BBQ. She actually managed to get out of the community- almost 500 feet walk and walking on the sideways. I had to drive a car and one mother was walking her to the community. Gosh..it still gives me goose bumps.
    I would love those tattos.

  13. jdp says

    Your post made me laugh that nervous kind of laugh. btdt. These would be handy but I’d be tempted to slap one on ds every a.m. LOL

  14. says

    I’d love to try these out for 2 girls (both 3). Much more practical than the GPS RFID idea I have desperatrely wanted to try for the past 3 years. They just don’t make something small enough yet!

  15. Crystal says

    I have a bad feeling that we’re going to need these a lot when my girls get older! So the girly set for me, please.

  16. Andrea says

    Thankfully, I have not lost one yet but I am that same nervous mom (my sister recently half-ridiculed me when I asked that she not walk so close to the side of the subway tracks–she was about 4 ft away. Only when she saw my ashen face did she realize I was serious.) Girly-girl for me please if I win…thanks (and what a great idea!).

  17. mistress clove says

    Brilliant idea! Love that these are waterproof, too. Wish the Quick Stick version came in more designs, but maybe that will be the case by the time my little guy is walking well enough to wander away. Enter me in the drawing for a boy set, please!

  18. Tonia Smith says

    Thanks for introducing us to this very cool product. I’ve got all girls…3 of ‘em!


  19. says

    This is an excellent idea! My kids are just getting old enough to take off in busy places, and having something affixed to their bodies would certainly help!

    Keeping them in matching, brightly colored outfits is another helper for crowded places.

  20. says

    What a great idea! Even worse than losing your own kid, I lost my best friend’s kid in the mall at Christmas time once. We’re actually not friends anymore, but not because I lost her kid. I’d go with the boy tats. I have 3. Boys, that is. Thanks!

  21. Muskeg Momma says

    Totally righteous idea — and the comment about still being married made me laugh out loud.

    We have two girls — both under the age of 3. Thanks for entering us, and making these cool tools known to parents.

  22. Kelly says

    My DD is just getting mobile, so I can say that I haven’t misplaced her…yet. She’s so quick that I’m just waiting for it to happen, though. So these will come in super handy! We like boy colors just as much as girl stuff, so any of them work for us.

    However, I did lose a friend’s 4 year old once. She walked across the parking lot from Barnes & Noble to Borders with me during a Harry Potter book release, and while in the store was walking circles around a little merchandise kiosk while I paid for our book. Apparently her older brother had walked over to take her back to their mother & forgot to mention it to me! I had visions of a news media circus & a mother who would never forgive me for all of the two minutes it took to figure out what had happened…

  23. Liz says

    This would be great! I am a nervous person although I am trying to calm down a little. Girl please!

  24. says

    An ounce of prevention …

    Even though I’m not able to enter the contest, I wanted to leave a comment to let people know that these things work!


    If you’re in a situation like this, as soon as you realize a child is missing, I recommend taking your cell phone out of your purse / backpack / pocket, turning it to vibrate and carrying it in your hand. The ambient noise at malls, fairs or indoor playgrounds can be so loud that it’s impossible for you hear the cell phone when it rings.

    (For the record, my experience is with a competitor’s product
    http://www.mabel.ca/mabel.php?a=mlw&n=my%20411%20wristbands )

  25. Stephanie says

    We have several trips coming up. These would be ideal. I am an anxious mom also, I hate when were in public and you lose eye sight for a moment. Stomach flips and everything.

  26. Gina says

    I have three girls and a boy – it is my biggest fear that one of them gets separated from me!! Love this idea!!!

  27. Caroline says

    I’ve been researching ways to do this before we go on vacation this summer. Last year, I wrote my number on a piece of ribbon and tied it around their wrist, but it was a little hard to read by the end of the day. These tatoos would be great!

  28. says

    God I have lost my boy so often i’ve lost count; he just disappears in a blink. I’ve only ever lost our daughter once (in Tesco- she played up and scared herself silly and never did it again) and she’s 8.

    The two most memorable times were the beach in Spain – he made it to the other end of the beach over 800 yards and was just about to go through a tunnel in the rocks to another campsite when I spotted his little blond head.

    The other time he escaped from a fenced playground and I found him playing down by the edge of the lake.

    Then there was the time he fell in the pond right outside the Ritz (it was covered in pond weed and he thought it looked green so he could walk on it) while the wife and i were arguing over directions!

    So B/G combo for me.

  29. Victoria Hata says

    I heard of another cool idea. I know of this one kid who, by the time he was 2 he was already talking. AND…his mom made him memorize his address and phone number! So if he ever gets lost and wants to go home, he can just tell someone. I love your idea for kids who can’t talk yet or unable to memorize, but memorization is another safety feature for kids that are a little older and can talk.

  30. Rosanne says

    I would want the combo pack and you’re a good mom to drill into your kids how to find you if they get lost. I do that too.

  31. cgibbs says

    We are gong to go to Seaworld in Orlando this summer as our family trip and I would put these to good use!


  32. Marianna says

    We actually “lost” our 5 year old at Disneyworld one year for about 20 minutes! So scary! These look like a great product, wish we’d had them then! Enter to me to win for a boy, please! Thanks for the giveaway!

  33. susan says

    this is such a great idea, how horrible it would be to “lose” my daughter! This would help her if that happened, so that means this is a GREAT product. I would like the girl one please.

  34. xenia says

    What a great product, I’d love the Girl set for taking my two daughters out. Thanks!

  35. ohio75ers says

    thank you for your stories. Today my son was in the backyard with my husband and I and I watched him walk back into the house. We slowly trailed him in and began to do chores around the house. About 5 minutes later, my husband saw our neighbor running to our front door. She had our son, nearly 2 yo, and said her husband spotted him in the middle of the street! He had opend the sliding screen door and wandered around the house to our busy street! We were grateful and crushed. We are attentive, alert parents. We were shocked at how quickly and easily this happened. Right now we are in a pit of guilt and feeling as incompetent as we can. Kids move quickly, faster than we parents know. Our son was safe today. Our new gate should help!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *