Keep your child with you while grocery shopping. Grocery stores and supermarkets have a huge amount of things to interest children. It's planned that way. Stores know that parents will succumb to the asking for things by their kids, so there are many foods, candies, toys and more aimed to attract young people.
In a perfect world, you keep your child with you at all times while in the store. However, I know that kids will wander off and even the most alert parent can find it difficult to shop and keep track of a child or two or three. So teach your children that if they do become separated from you, to wait for you by the cashier (or cashiers in a larger store.). Kids should also be taught to never leave the store with anyone.
Many store will have what is called a “Code-Adam.” This is a missing child safety program in the United States and Canada, originally created by Wal-Mart retail stores in 1994. It is named in memory of Adam Walsh, the 6-year-old son of John Walsh (The host of America's Most Wanted.). Adam was separated from his mother in a Sears department store at the Hollywood Mall in Hollywood, Florida in 1981 and was later found murdered and decapitated. (His story was made into a 1983 television film Adam.) Many department stores, retail shops, shopping malls, supermarkets, amusement parks, hospitals and museums participate in the Code Adam program.
If you are separated from your child while shopping, notify a store employee. “Code Adam” will be broadcast throughout the store which puts every employee on alert that there is a child missing in the store and they should attempt to locate the child. If the store does not use the “Code Adam” code for missing children, they should have a similar means to notify employees and shoppers. Using this allows everyone to assist in finding your child.
Hopefully, you child will remember to go stand next to the cashier, and when alerted, the cashier can stay with your child while waiting for you. Unfortunately, sometimes children will be playing with whatever caught their attention and not realize everyone is frantically looking for them. Teach your children to stay with you, to go to the cashier if separated, and that the store is not a place to play.
One way to keep better track of your children when grocery shopping is to get them involved with you. It may take a few minutes longer, but you can teach your children about shopping, selecting healthy choices, prices and so forth by having them shop with you. Keep them helping you, and with you, so they don't wander off.
Here is a little more information on Code Adam and what happens when you report a missing child.
Companies that do implement the program generally place a Code Adam decal at the front of the business. Employees at these businesses are trained to do the following six steps according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children:
1. If a visitor reports a child is missing, a detailed description of the child and what he or she is wearing is obtained. Additionally, all exterior access to the building is locked and monitored; anyone approaching a door is turned away.
2. The employee goes to the nearest in-house telephone and pages Code Adam, describing the child’s physical features and clothing. As designated employees monitor front entrances, other employees begin looking for the child.
3. If the child is not found within 10 minutes, law enforcement is called.
4. If the child is found and appears to have been lost and unharmed, the child is reunited with the searching family member.
5. If the child is found accompanied by someone other than a parent or legal guardian, reasonable efforts to delay their departure will be used without putting the child, staff, or visitors at risk. Law enforcement will be notified and given details about the person accompanying the child.
6. The Code Adam page will be canceled after the child is found or law enforcement arrives.