No parent wants to face that very frightening moment â€“ they look around and canâ€™t find their child. It is especially scary in a busy airport. It just takes a second of distraction, like looking up at the flight schedule board, and the child gets lost in the crowd. What can parents do to keep the kids safe while theyâ€™re in the airport?
Have a plan.
Make sure that if one parent is trying to figure out where to go, or looking up at the flight board, the other parent is in charge of watching the kids. If a single parent is taking the kids through the airport, the plan might be a bit more complicated. If necessary, have the children hold on to Mommyâ€™s jacket when Mommy needs to look at something. Think ahead about what to do in the middle of crowds, and how to keep the kids close.
Whatâ€™s the rush?
Maybe a single person with a briefcase can make a mad dash through an airport to catch a flight, but not a family with several children. There are slowdowns all through the airport â€“ luggage checkin lines, the security line, long distances to travel to get to departure gates. Allow sufficient time so the family can factor in those lines and delays, and walk calmly through the airport. This minimizes the possibility that a parent gets separated from a child. It also allows for the parent to stop if necessary â€“ remember, little legs get more tired doing all of that walking.
Talk to the kids.
Before going to the airport, explain to the children how busy it will be. It will be important for the kids not to get distracted and want to wander off to look at a fascinating magazine kiosk or whatever might catch their attention. They will need to stay close to the parents and pay close attention. Let the kids know what to expect when going through luggage checkin lines, and especially when itâ€™s time to go through security. The tension around the security lines will be felt by kids, so tell them what itâ€™s all about.
Think about the security line.
It is allowed for infants and small children to be carried through the metal detector by an adult. If there are two children and two parents, have each parent take a child through the detector. If there is one parent and several children, decide ahead of time how to handle that situation. If one child is old enough to walk through on their own, have them walk through ahead of the parent holding the other child â€“ that way the parent can watch one child, hold the other, and not get separated.
Hold hands a lot.
Whenever the crowd gets dense, step off to the side until there is a break in the traffic. Have the kids hold hands with the parents. If there are several kids, have one hold the hand of the parent, and the children hold each otherâ€™s hand. Remind the kids that this is very important, and be alert in case the crowd threatens to break the hand holds.
Eagle eyed parents.
Of course there will be distractions for the parents when trying to find the way through the airport. But that is secondary to maintaining a visual contact with the children. If the parent needs to check which way to go for the plane flight, step off to the side, gather the kids around where they can hold on to Mommy and be watched â€“ then check to figure out where to go next.
Like so many other things parents have to think about, navigating the airport with small children takes some thought and planning. But with a plan in place, the airport doesnâ€™t have to lead to a scary separation from a child.
While Patricia Hogenes works for a law office at SlackDavis.com, her real loves are her 3 kids, and her latest travel adventure. She writes articles on topics as varied as law and legal matters, adolescent drug treatment, and health topics such as diabetes.
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