We've never really taken too many precautions before, because we've always taken a couple double strollers and worn the littlest baby in a sling, so there has literally never been a moment when they weren't right next to us. We have two that are too big for strollers now though. Three really, but I still let her(Addi) stand in the sit and stand when her little legs get tired. We also had a TERRIBLE time last time losing DADDY and his share of the kids!! He would take someone to the bathroom or to ride something no one else wanted to ride, then he'd be gone for an hour. I'd call and call his phone, but he wouldn't hear the ringer. By the time I'd find him I'd be ready to skin his red head! SO, this year we are bumping up the safety for the kids and for us.
While I pray that we'll all be safe and no one will get lost, I know that it's possible, so I want to be sure and cover our bases. Here are a few of our ideas:
- I almost always dress the kids in at least coordinating colors, but while we are on vacation I always try to dress them in the same color. I always try to match them too, if possible so that I can just glance down at myself and know what color they are wearing that day. This helps SO much in a crowd or in play areas! I also try to match them in the pool, which is a huge help.
- We plan to take daily pictures of them individually and as a group each day so that if something does happen we will have the most recent picture possible.
- I'm going to create a luggage/dog tag type card that will have minimal personal information that they will have pinned on the inside of their pocket each day. Be careful not to put too much information about the child, and never put it in an area that's easily seen so that strangers who might like to take your kids home with them won't be able to call them by name, and know your name and phone number to tell them something like, "Well, your mom, Leslie, said you were supposed to come with me, KK!" My kids would likely go with them even though they've been trained NOT to! Just be careful about what you put on your ID card and where you put it. Mostly, you just want someone to be able to help your children if needed. You may also want to include hotel information. I have some friends who actually made dog tags for their boys. That works too. There are these CUTE temporary tats, if you're interested...
- We will go over what cast members look like with the kids and teach them that if anything happens to find one of them. These people are EXPERTS on finding lost momma's and daddy's quickly.
- We have already decided on specific meeting points in each park. These are pretty simple, as there are landmarks in each park, but we have a specific place near each landmark where we'll meet if separated. This is especially for Manly and I.
- Because there's so much to do at night in Disney World I plan to buy several packages of glow sticks for the kids to wear to make it a little easier to see them. I know there are going to be LOTS of other people with glow sticks, but it will help anyway. You can get a pack at the dollar store and a mondo pack at WalMart for really cheap.
- Use strollers to keep kids close. Even the ones who can't SIT in the stroller can hold onto them. I have these little handles on my joovy that I call "power bars." When we are out I have each of the older kids hold on to a power bar to keep my stroller powered up. Ha! Works every time...so far. You can also simply hold hands to stay together. Always have the same kids hold hands. They'll get used to it and automatically do it most of the time.
- Also, there are TOTALLY COOL apps that you can get here. I have NO idea how to use a smart phone, because I still have an I-Granny flip phone, but if you DO know how to use one I HIGHLY recommend going to this site and getting all of their COOL apps! They have so many neat ideas on how to make the best of your time in Disney. WE LOVE UCT!! And no, they are not paying me to say that.
- They also have their own safety tips here. Most of which are doubles of what I just posted because I really liked them!!
- I always have STRICT rules in the bathroom. This is the EASIEST place to get lost. Especially if momma(or daddy) needs to potty too. I wait until all my kids are in their stalls then tell them to stay in there until I am finished. When I'm done I do my momma whistle and they all come out of their stalls. I used to try to put them all in my stall with me, but now there are just TOO many kids to go in there! Now, the little kids we for sure keep with us, but the big girls are safe to stay in the stall. Does this hold up the line? Uh, yeah, but honestly, if you have a problem with me keeping my kids safe from bad guys you shouldn't be at Disney World. Ha!
- Basically, there is NEVER a reason for the kids to be alone. EVER! Not to sit while I wait in line, not to go see a character while we are waiting to ride a ride. There is NEVER a reason for kids to be on their own in Disney World. Ever. No, seriously, EVER!!
- Have a safety plan!! We've never done this, but plan to do it this year. So important!! Especially for Manly and I, but very helpful for our bigger kids too. Just go over it before you leave your house, then each day before you go out.
- As far as personal safety goes, be sure to carry a small first aid kit in your bag. When(not if) someone gets a boo-boo you are prepared and don't have to find a first aid center(which are AWESOME by the way if you do ever need one).