5-Year-Old Child Accidentally Left Behind at Stuttgart Airport
Most everyone (over a certain age) has seen the "Home Alone" movies where 8-year-old Kevin McCallister is accidentally left behind at home near Chicago while his large extended family goes on holiday to Paris. Due to miscounting, chaos, running late, scattered seat assignments and lots of different "caregivers" involved with no one person in-charge, no one noticed he was still at home by himself until they were flying over the Atlantic.
The movie seemed like a little bit of a far-fetched fictional tale, but perhaps it wasn't so off-base as a 5-year-old child was just accidentally left behind at the airport in Stuttgart.
Officials at Stuttgart Airport confirm to TPG that a child was recently left at the airport due to a misunderstanding. The parents of the child had departed the airport in two vehicles and both the mother and father each thought that the 5-year-old was in the car with the other parent.
The child was reportedly found wandering around the airport alone on Tuesday by police officers. She was returned to the parents after they called the police station looking for her.
Keep your children safe when traveling
I couldn't get any additional details about the circumstances surrounding how the 5-year-old was left behind, but here are a few tips to help keep your kids safe while traveling.
- When traveling with a larger group, ensure that one person is in charge of keeping the child/children are still with the group. It doesn't have to be the same person in charge of all of the children, but every child should have a designated adult looking out for them at all times.
- Have children memorize your name and phone number as soon as they are able.
- Do periodic counts of everyone at every major departure point -- such as leaving the airport.
- Have your name and cell phone number written on a card in the child's pocket or similar if they aren't old enough to memorize your information. This is also a good tactic when attending a crowded event, just in case.
- Talk to your child about what to do in case you are separated and where they should go. This is important not just in airports, but also when utilizing subways, trains, elevators, etc.
- Consider using a 'toddler wristband/harness' if you think it is necessary to keep everyone safe. I did this once or twice in the airport when traveling solo with a wandering toddler.
Thankfully, this situation has a good ending, but I can only imagine how terrified parents and/or child may have been. Family travel can be stressful and hectic at times, so have a plan in place to keep anything like this from happening to your children.
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