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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