Going shopping as a child, I remember the corny piped music was regularly interrupted with all sorts of announcements over the loudspeaker – special offers, phone calls for staff members and the inevitable missing children reports.

If a child did wander off to the lolly aisle, parents could be assured that the store manager would share a detailed description of the missing child over the announcement system, so other shoppers could look out for the straying kid.

However, you may have noticed that these days, public alerts don’t happen any longer. When my 4-year-old son wandered off while we were shopping in Kmart a few months ago, I got the fright of my life. Thank goodness my husband was with me so we split up and he eventually found my little boy calmly checking out the birthday paraphernalia. I was just about to approach the staff in desperation to ask them to make a shop announcement, but little did I know that my request would have been refused.

Missing Child Announcements Are Banned

As reported in 7News, a Sydney mum has shared her disappointment that missing children announcements are no longer permitted after her child got lost at Kmart.

Mum Amy posted about her experience on a local Facebook group saying: “My mum and dad took my three-year-old son to Kmart today and my son decided to hide.

“He was missing for 15 minutes.

“My dad stayed at the front entrance to catch him on the way out if he tried to leave.

“They asked to make an announcement and they were refused saying they couldn’t due to [a] child protection issue.

“What else could be done in this situation to help find a lost or hiding child in a store?”

The post received many comments, with lots of mums expressing their surprise in this change of policy.

One said: “I would of freaked … if they can’t call it out where was the help.”

Child Protection

But another mum, who happened to work in a shop explained the new policy:

“I work in a retail store and when we have a missing child, we call all available staff to the front and let them know the situation and then go looking for the child,” she said.

“We’re not allowed to announce that there’s a missing child anymore.

“[It’s] because of Child Protection Policies.

“We used to announce what the child was wearing, but now we’re not allowed to even mention there’s a child missing.”

Many commenters were supportive of this new policy:

“I don’t see a problem with their new “rule” Better they speak to staff quietly to get it sorted, than announcing over the loudspeaker that a child is missing and alerting possible predators that they can snatch and grab a small child.”

Do you agree with this change of rule? Tell us in the comments below.

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  • Pros and cons of both the things but yeah this might be a bit hard on the parents to find the kids. But definitely helps with the kids safety.

    Reply


  • I can see why it has been stopped and as long as the staff are made aware of it and can search for the child, it really has to be a safer way to go for kids.

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  • interesting article, made me think hard about it


    • Made me ponder too – on both sides of reasoning.

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  • Once explained it makes more sense.

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  • I see the logic for both sides of the argument. Its a tough world we live in these days trying to keep everyone safe

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  • I like the idea of getting someone to the exit or exits as soon as possible I think it’s important to have well thought out policies

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  • My 9yr old (a foster child with serious problems) ran away and went missing for 2 hours in March. We called the police and they spread her description with our permission on social media and the police helicopter flew around the area and gave her description as well (with our permission). One thing I know for sure without these measures it wouldn’t have been possible to find her.

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  • Mixed feelings about it

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  • It is more difficult once the child is too big to sit in specially made part of the trolley. You need 2 hands to steer the trolley and have to rely on your child staying with you as they are told to by most parents. Time to bring back harnesses with ties on them. I know a child who has a backpack she wears that has a fabric attachment her Mum holds on to and the child can’t go any further than the length of the trolley. Ideal if you have to get on public transport or travelling by plane.

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  • I hate the amount of unattended kids you see in shops these days, my friend lets her kid wander all over the shop and I panicked the whole time we were there

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  • Yeah it does make sense. Sad though!

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  • It makes sense but it’s also sad that it has come to this.

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  • I guess that makes sense, my son has hidding in big w and wouldn’t answer, very scary

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  • I think it is a better idea not to announce it to the entire store. Better to do it discreetly that have my child put in possible danger by announcing that she is lost.

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  • I think it is safer to not do an announcement.If anyone has lost a child the staff will soon know about it and help get it sorted.

    Reply

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