With the various happenings in the news all around the world, safety has become a top concern for everyone, even at Walt Disney World. We all worry about how we can ensure that our kids are safe. Disney goes to great lengths to ensure guest safety and give all guests that peace of mind, but there are definitely things you can do to help. As a parent who has lost a child in Walt Disney World, I know all too well what that feels like, and I only hope that some of these tips can help prevent this from happening to all of you. Here are 10 tips for keeping kids safe at Walt Disney World:
10 – Talk to your children about strangers and “stranger danger” situations.
This is a good thing to do even if you aren’t planning a Walt Disney World trip. Talk to your kids about keeping themselves safe and how to handle situations where strangers approach them. Also talk to them about inappropriate touching and their personal body space to ensure that they recognize when something isn’t right. These are very difficult conversations to have, and we hate that we have to do it, but better to help them detect when a situation doesn’t feel right.
9 – Instruct children to go to the nearest cast member if they are separated from the group.
It is a good idea to direct your kids to look for a cast member if they should get separated from you and your family. The name tags are helpful as a guide to look for or instruct them to go into a food location or gift shop where they are sure to find one as opposed to walking through the streets. Disney trains their cast members on how to handle lost child situations and they will ensure that the child is kept safe and reunited with their parents.
8 – Take a picture of your children with your phone each day before you head to the parks.
This is definitely a great idea. If you should get separated, then this gives you their exact outfit and exactly how they look to show cast members and security staff to help in finding your child as quickly as possible. The most accurate information will be of great help to them and will make the process easier during what is an extremely stressful situation.
7 – Have contact information on them somewhere, especially the young ones.
If your children are too young to memorize your cell phone number, then it is a good idea to have it on them somewhere and instruct them where it is. You can have special bracelets, necklaces, temporary tattoos, etc. made for them to wear. Some parents write it on masking tape and put inside the back collar of their shirt or write it on their wrist. However you think will work best for you, but definitely ensure the contact information is there to help you get reunited with your child faster.
Editors Note: Chad and Cindy highly recommend Road Id. These are slim bracelets worn when you can’t have your ID with you. We wear ours all the time, even when we are not exercising. We had Road Ids made for our kids and had them wear them in the park. We included our cell phone numbers on their bracelets. For more information go to roadid.com.
6 – Use family restrooms if needed.
If you are juggling multiple kids, or have kids that are “too old” to go with Mom and want to go into the men’s room alone (or Dad/daughters), then consider using one of the family restrooms. There may be a little bit of a line, but if you are able to wait you won’t have to be separated from any of the kiddos and everyone can use the restroom. We do this a lot with our kids since they are so young and it is easier to let them potty in the bigger, private bathrooms.
5 – Pay attention to the people around you.
I know it is easy to get distracted by all of the amazing Disney sights and you want to take it all in, but be sure to pay attention to the people around you. Watch people to see if someone may be following you or staring at your family. You don’t want to be overly paranoid, but just keep a good visual on everything going on around you so that you aren’t caught off and can alert a cast member or security of any concerning situations.
4 – Assign children to adults (or teens) in your party.
This is where we had our little mishap. I thought my husband had my son, and he thought I had him. Clearly define which adult (or teenager) is responsible for which child. That way each older member of the party is focused on one or two children at a time and constantly watching for them rather everyone doing a full headcount. It is more organized that way and easier to keep everyone corralled. My husband and I do this religiously now.
3 – Keep small children in strollers or on “leashes”.
When you are walking from place to place, there are so many people moving around that a small child could get pull away from you and get lost in the crowd easily. This not only puts them at risk of getting lost, but of getting knocked over and accidentally trampled, too, if the other guests don’t see them. Try to keep smaller children in strollers as you move from place to place so that you know they are safely buckled in and you don’t have to worry about these situations. Don’t be afraid to use the frequently mocked “leashes” for the toddlers that like to be on the move. We did this with our 2 year old that didn’t want to sit in a stroller and preferred to walk. It gave us peace of mind and we didn’t have any issues.
2 – Consider matching shirts.
If you needed an excuse to talk your spouse into matching shirts, now you have one! They really do help in spotting the members of your party. They also let other guests know who is together, and they may be able to help if these see a member of your herd breaking away. Cast Members can also see in person what the shirt looks like so they know what they are looking for. Make them as brightly colored as possible and your group will surely stand out in a crowd.
1 – Have them wear their Magic Bands.
We talked earlier about having kids wear contact information on them. The Magic Band is also a link to this information. Cast members can scan the band and it will retrieve the information in My Disney Experience. If you have your contact information up to date in My Disney Experience, this can be another great way to reunite your party.