Expert Mom Advice: How to Safely Locate Your Missing Child

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Toddler walking on city street with two adults nearby

Image: Gorica Poturak, iStock

Moms really do know best. Over the weekend, an Ohio mom went viral with a tip that helped locate her lost 3-year-old daughter in minutes. The mother credits another mom’s social media tip with her quick thinking when her daughter went missing during a museum trip. We’re all for giving credit where credit’s due—especially when it comes to motherly wisdom.

Here’s the tip that helped this mom get her child back in her arms quickly—plus more safety insights from other moms.

The big tip that saved the day at the museum

Instead of calling out your child’s name, call out their description.

If you lose track of your kid in a crowded place, the first instinct is often to scream out their name—but that doesn’t help others look for your missing child. Instead, describe what they’re wearing and anything else that might stand out, like glasses or hair color. As soon as this mom started calling out, “Little girl, pink shirt, pink Minnie Mouse shirt,” she heard other moms in the crowd do the same.

All in all, they found the girl in about two minutes—but as a scared parent, that’s more than enough time to panic.

More mom tips to help keep track of kids in crowds

  • Snap a pic of your little one before you head out so you don’t go blank if you need to remember what they were wearing.
  • Dress your kids in bright or distinctive clothing to help spot them in a crowd.
  • Add eye-catching accessories like a colorful hair bow, socks, or shoes.
  • Write your cell phone number on their clothes (inside by the tag) or arm so someone can contact you if they find your child wandering.
  • Establish a meeting spot that’s easy to find and see from anywhere (something tall and unique). Tell your kid to go there if they get lost.
  • Teach them how to find help. Looking for another mom with her kids is usually a safe bet. They should also look for uniforms—police, fire department, EMT, security, and employees. Point out what the workers wear and what emergency services wear so your child can recognize them when they need help.
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Use a GPS tracker to keep an eye on kids

On top of these great tips from mom's who have been there, a GPS tracker can ease anxiety and help you track down a lost kiddo faster. See our picks for the best GPS trackers for kids.

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past decade. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime and safety reports and spotting trends. Her expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like NPR, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of podcast, radio and TV clips in the US and abroad.

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