Last night an Ohio mom took to Facebook Live to warn parents about a terrifying safety issue that could come up with your kids. Cyrissa Carlson, a mom of 2, photographer and owner of Sparkle Society, who also happens to be a close friend of mine, found out the hard way that having a “safety talk” about strangers with your kids just isn’t enough. She found out—and wants ALL parents to know—that you also need a safety PLAN.
Carlson’s two sons attend a summer day camp at a local parks district, which she says, they have been “LOVING.” But after a terrifying incident yesterday turned their summer upside down in an instant. Carlson’s youngest son, Chase, who is 7, was on a hike with other campers and counselors. He and a 5-year-old fellow camper were bringing up the rear, and there was no counselor at the end of the line. After awhile, the two kids were far enough behind the group that they became completely lost—and no one realized that they were gone for about 15 minutes.
What happened next is the stuff of parental nightmares. Chase and the 5-year-old wandered around trying to find the group, eventually coming out of the woods and ending up in the parking lot of a local school. All alone and scared, the two little ones did not know what to do.
Then a car driven by a woman pulled up.
She offered the kids a ride, telling them she would take them back to where they were supposed to be, and the kids GOT IN THE CAR WITH A STRANGER. NEVER could Carlson have imagined that her son would get in the car with a stranger, but he did. Carlson says, “Praise Jesus” that the two boys were lucky—the woman in the car was a good person.
Carlson knows how lucky she is that the stranger was a good stranger. She doesn’t want to think about what might have happened if someone else had come along. When she asked Chase WHY he had gotten in the car with a stranger, his answer was simple: he didn’t know what else to do. He’s a lost, scared 7-year-old, trying to take care of a 5-year-old, and he just didn’t see any alternative.
Knowing that her son could have been in real danger from getting in a stranger’s car launched Carlson into action: she wants other parents to know that you have to make a safety PLAN. She never could have DREAMED that her child would be lost and in the position where he needed a ride from a stranger. She now wishes she had told given him a plan, such as telling the stranger, “No, I don’t want a ride, but may I borrow your phone so I can call my mom?” or “No thank you, but can I please use your phone to call 911.” She also says that she will now send her children to camp with a “burner” cell phone in their pockets so they can reach her no matter what.
The Parks District is handling the matter regarding their employees losing track of the kids, and Carlson wants to emphasize that she wants the SAFETY PLAN that parents need to make with their families to be the focus her. Her emotional and heartbreaking video is above. PLEASE take the time to watch—and make a PLAN with your kids!