By Brenda Zofrea
The holidays are here, and that means many of us will be hitting malls and megastores with children and grandchildren in tow. To help keep your family safe, follow these 10 rules of shopping with children:
1. Make a plan ahead of time to meet at a certain spot if you become separated. Teach children to look for “safe strangers” if they need help — a clerk at a checkout counter or a mother with a child.
2. Remind children to never leave the store or mall without you and to never wait for you in the parking lot.
3. Never leave young children unattended in a store, video arcade, movie theater, play area, food court, or vehicle. And always accompany young children to restrooms.
4. If you allow older grandchildren to shop without you, make sure they are with a sibling or friend, tell you where they’re going, and check in with you regularly.
5. Carry current photos of your grandchildren and make a mental note of what each is wearing.
6. Park in a well-lit area as close to the entrance as possible.
7. When returning to your vehicle, have your keys ready and hold the hands of younger children.
8. Keep your handbag close to your body, and don’t flash your cash.
9. Keep at least one hand free of packages and ready to grab a child, if needed.
10. Walk tall, stay alert, and keep your eyes and ears open.
Have a safe and happy holiday season!