United States (PBSO) – Family outings to amusement and theme parks may be wonderful opportunities for family members to bond and spend quality time together. Visits to amusement parks often provide children with lifelong memories of “meeting” their favorite cartoon character or having their own “real-life” action adventure.
For a parent or guardian these outings may also be sources of stress and concern. Both adults and children may become distracted by the excitement of the rides and attractions. Taking the time to plan your trip with your children may help make your outing to the amusement or theme park safer and more enjoyable. Here are a few steps your family may take to help ensure happy memories.
Before going to the park, tell your children to…
- PAY CAREFUL ATTENTION to who they are with and where they are located in the park.
- STAY with others and never be alone in the park or become isolated with anyone, even characters in costume. Tell your children not to accept any prizes, offers, or gifts from anyone until they have CHECKED FIRST with you. Caution your children not to engage in conversation with or offer assistance to anyone until they have checked first with you.
- TELL you if anyone approaches them or makes them feel sad, scared, or confused. Teach your children if anyone tries to grab them to loudly yell, “This person is trying to take me” or “This person is not my father/mother.”
- TEACH your children to GO to the closest “Help/Information Center” if they become lost or separated while in the park and ask the park staff members to “find my parents/guardians, and have them meet me.” In the case of older children, make the “Help/ Information Center” the designated meeting place. Make sure your children understand they should never search for you on their own or look for you outside the park, especially in the parking lot.
You can apply these same rules when your children are taking part in a field trip with their school or youth group. If you are not joining your children for the trip, instruct them to tell the responsible adult in charge or designated chaperone if anything makes them feel sad, scared, or confused.
As a parent or guardian you should…
- Get information about the park prior to your trip and review the park guidelines, particularly those regarding lost children.
- Discuss the information as a family, including what to do if lost or separated.
- Ask your children what they would do in certain situations and practice appropriate actions and responses with your children.