Track children in amusement parks

Summer is here again and the kids are itching to get to the amusement park. But it is hard to keep track of them when you are there and that makes you nervous. Well here are some suggestions.

If your child is very young, preschool, or kindergarten, you might want to consider a child’s harness. They usually fit over the body like a vest, arms through holes, and then attached by a clip in the front. Then on the back of the harness is a place to hook a leash. This gives the child some sense of freedom, but lets you keep the child in view. Some of those little ones can be real runners. Some people may criticize you for treating your child like an animal because you are using a leash, but having your child safely in view and attached to you overrides any amount of criticism you may receive.

Elementary age children can be equipped with walkie-talkies. These are not the big ones you have seen in old movies. These are hand held, not much bigger than a cell phone. They can easily be operated by simply pressing a button and talking. They can be found at any electronics store. They come in different sizes, different colors, and different accessories. The only accessory you might really need is a holster in which to store the walkie-talkie while your child is running around the amusement park. The holster makes certain the walkie-talkie is firmly attached to the child. Whereas, if the child carries the walkie-talkie loosely in her pocket it can easily come loose and lost; especially when riding all the rides.
The other thing to check is the distance ability of the walkie-talkie. Given their size, construction and batteries the walkie-talkies have a limited range. Some more limited than others. So, if you are going to a large amusement park make certain the walkie-talkies can cover the entire territory.

Any child above the age of 12 probably has his own cell phones these days. When you go to the amusement park make certain all the family has their cell phones. Make certain they are turned on. Just call each other now and then, see how everybody’s doing, and make a date for lunch at the food court. Many cell phones now have the capability to take and send photos. Have the child occasionally send a photo standing in front of some recognizable place in the park. Then you know they are ok and by the landmark, in the photo you know where they are.

If you really want to get fancy you can purchase a global positioning system (GPS). This works by sending a ray from your GPS to a satellite. The ray then bounces off the satellite to your child’s GPS. This ray locates your child’s whereabouts and reports it on your GPS screen. The downside of these systems is that you cannot use them to speak with the other person. It only provides its geographic position. GPS systems are becoming smaller and smaller in size and cheaper and cheaper in price. But make no mistake. Right now GPS systems are more expensive than any of the other tools mentioned here.

Then there is the old tried and true method. Make a plan with your children. Agree to meet after some agreed upon time frame every two hours, every three hours just to check-in. Agree on a central place where you will meet every time. At this meeting each child might tell you which part of the park she plans to be in during the next time period. This is particularly helpful in very large parks.

There is no one universal age at which children can enjoy the amusement park independent of their parents. You, the parent, will have to make that decision yourself. Just remember, the older they get the more independence they want, but just because they want independence does not necessarily mean they are ready for it.

In the extremely rare cases when children do become lost, haven’t answered their phone after a number of calls, or miss a planned get together completely then you may want to contact the park’s security force to help you find your child.
Be careful here, you don’t want to panic and create undue concern. You know whether your child always is late for meetings. You know that your child often turns off his phone so as not to be bothered by you. Take into account your child’s behavior and act accordingly.

If all else fails and you cannot find your child in the large, seemingly infinite, expanse of the latest amusement park, then get a bloodhound dog, set him loose and sit back and relax until Fido returns with your children.

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