Practice Safety Before You Shop - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/22/04

Practice Safety Before You Shop

"Code Adam. I have a Code Adam at this time. He has blonde hair, blonde eyes, approximately four feet with blue jeans, a red sweater and white tennis shoes. I need an associate at all exit doors at this time." It's a safety alert code, Lowe's Home Improvement in Lubbock and stores nationwide use to find missing children. Lowe's Manager Alan Nettles says, "We will go to loud speaker and announce Code Adam or Code Sarah and give a brief description of the child. That prompts all of our associates to secure all doors."

Code Adam was named after Adam Walsh, a 6-year-old who was kidnapped from a Florida department store and killed in 1981. It's a tragic reminder that kids can vanish within seconds. In fact, 1,800,000 children are reported missing in the United States each year.

Mother to four, Elizabeth Fuentes says, "We put one in the stroller, the littlest one and the others, we have them grab a hold of the stroller on each side so we can all be together." Keeping up with their children is what Lubbock shoppers like Fuentes will try to do this holiday shopping season. "We always have them hold hands. If one gets separated then they know to just stay right there and go to an adult in the store where they are."

Get Your Children Id'd
In the event your child does get lost, you'll need to supply authorities with a good description.

As you map out where the best sales are, map out a meeting place for your family in case someone gets lost. "Advise your children what to do when you're shopping inside a store or even outside stores in the common areas of the mall," says Beth Bridges, Marketing Manager at South Plains Mall. She says security plans are in place to reunite lost children with their parents. "Our security staff is really fanned out across the mall at all times. We're in different sectors and they can immediately start searching for the lost party and reunite them."

She suggests the following safety solutions. Keep your children close at all times. "Keep your children within eyeshot at all times and don't assume that someone that is with you is watching them. Keep your hands on them if you have small children. Keep them in strollers." Strollers are available for rental at guest services in the mall.

Next, teach your children to stay inside the store if they get lost. Do not go outside. "Find a store employee and tell them they've lost their parent or guardians and store employees will help you find each other. If the child gets lost in the common areas of the mall, tell them to look for a security guard. They will be in a white uniform with a South Plains Mall badge or a uniformed police officer because we do have those out here on staff during the holidays."

Amber Alert Helps Find Missing Children
Learn the criteria that has to be met before an Amber Alert is issued.

Finally, let your children take breaks so they won't grow restless. Safari Play Area is open year round at the mall but don't leave the kids unattended. "That really is for children who are supervised by an adult or guardian. If you leave your children unsupervised there, then that's just not safe.

These are Safety Solutions that will keep your children safe this holiday shopping season.  For more safety tips, ( click here ).

For  holiday shopping hours at the South Plains mall, ( click here ).

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