Published 18 June 2010
Young shoppers get a “passport to safety”
THOUSANDS of children at one of the UK’s largest shopping centres are being urged to carry a new “safety passport” – to ensure they can find help fast when they are lost.
The Trafford Centre launched the downloadable “Passport to Safety” in time for Child Safety Week (21-25 June) in a bid to slash the time between a child becoming lost, and being reunited with their guardians.
See the new Passport to Safety here.
Said Gordon McKinnon, director of operations: “We know that hundreds of children become lost in busy places like The Trafford Centre every year, and this can be a distressing experience for everyone involved.
“Our security teams are very experienced in dealing with lost children, but some of our parent shoppers asked for something extra that they could download at home, which would help prepare their little ones for a visit to The Trafford Centre.
“This passport is in addition to our popular safety wrist bands introduced many years ago, which are also now available on download. But the passport is more interactive, and geared specifically towards children, who should read it with the support of their parents.
“Anything that gets parents and children talking about what to do if they are separated in public is a good thing. By using our Passport to Safety, parents can start that important conversation.
“If we can’t find a child’s parents within 30 minutes, our policy is to contact the police – which takes up police time, and can be embarrassing for parents. Thanks to this passport, we can contact the guardian of any lost child who is carrying one – and ensure that child is quickly and safely returned.”
Chief Superintendent Mark Roberts, of Greater Manchester Police’s Trafford Division, said: ““The Trafford Centre is well-known for being a safe place for youngsters, but still children can still become lost easily in large public spaces.
“This leaflet highlights the need for parents and their children to be aware of what to do in the event of separation. We welcome this attempt to raise awareness so that children who do go missing are found quickly.”
“Peace of mind”
Presented by The Trafford Centre mascot Barney Bear, the passport carries the name and contact number for each child’s guardian, as well as child-friendly maps, and instructions on finding a responsible adult if a child becomes lost. The safety net is aimed at children aged 8 and under, and is designed to be used with parental support.
Added Gordon McKinnon: “By downloading the Passport and ensuring your child carries a copy on your visit to the Centre, you can gain the peace of mind of knowing that your youngster is better prepared, and has a contact mobile number on their person for our trained staff to use.”
• Child Safety Week runs from June 21 to June 25, 2010.
• The Trafford Centre’s Safety Wristband was introduced 10 years ago, and the scheme has now been widely adopted by other shopping centres
• The Trafford Centre has consulted with parents, child safety groups and Greater Manchester Police in the production of the new passport.
• The Passport to Safety can be downloaded here.