More than 59 million tourists visited the Orlando area in 2021, according to recently compiled travel industry statistics. Many of these tourists, as you might expect, visited Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and several of the region’s other popular theme parks.
And while the overwhelming majority of these visitors to the Sunshine State came and went without incident, crowded theme parks are ideal spots for individuals who wish to do harm to you and/or your children.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that around 2,000 children disappear from amusement parks every year in the United States. And with some of the most popular parks in the country being located in Orlando, the city is obviously a popular spot for kidnappers and child traffickers.
But there are many ways that you can avoid becoming a statistic while still enjoying all of the fun and excitement of a day at Disney World or any other Orlando area theme park.
The key is to be prepared. You hope a missing child will never happen to you, and we certainly hope it doesn’t. But you do need to be prepared and know exactly what you’ll do if this type of situation rears its ugly head.
The first thing you’ll want to do is have a plan in place, one that you’ve communicated to your child. If you and your child get separated at any point in the park, both you and the child should know exactly what to do.
Stress upon your child the importance of finding an adult in authority if he or she becomes lost or feels there’s a dangerous situation developing. Your child should also have your phone number in his or her pocket so you can be called should you become separated.
How to Keep Your Child Safe?
Other ways you can keep your child safe in a crowded environment include:
- Take a photo of your child when entering the amusement park. If something does happen, you’ll have a current photo to show park personnel and authority figures. Even consider wearing matching clothes for the day so authorities will know what to look for.
- Have a meeting spot set up in advance. If you get separated, make sure your child knows exactly where he or she is supposed to meet up with you. If you’re at this spot and your child doesn’t show up as discussed, this is the time to alert the authorities.
- Practice ahead of time. Take a few minutes to practice what you’ll do if you and your child become separated. This will help your child to do the right thing if an emergency comes up.
- Make sure your child knows he or she should only be hanging out with you. You don’t know anyone else at the park and your child should know not to go anywhere with anyone other than you. Stress this to your child so if a stranger does approach, internal sirens will start going off.
- Be sure your child has identification on him or her. Particularly if your child is younger, be certain he or she has a card that clearly identifies who the child is and how parents can be contacted.
Follow the rules of the amusement park and be prepared for any and all possibilities. Doing so will allow you to have a great day at Orlando, Florida’s amusement parks while keeping everyone in the family safe from harm.