On a Friday evening in the late Fall, my 6.5 year old son got lost in the woods behind our house. I want to tell you what happened, what I did and what I learned. The important points are at the top, with the full
story following.

1. Call the police immediately. They are much calmer and knowledgeable about what to do in these situations.

2. Have current photos PRINTED out. I know in this new digital camera age that a lot of people get behind in printing photos. Get in the practice of printing out at least one photo of your child every month. When a child is lost you don’t want to be digging in the computer at that moment. I know digital would be helpful if you had to send it out in an Amber alert. But, a printed photo for the police to look at was helpful.

3. Know your child’s height and weight. I was so glad I had our Wallet ID product. Because, I could give an accurate height and weight for my child. You can do this any number of ways that cost you nothing. But if you need something to make you get it done and organize everything in one place, our Wallet ID Kit is great.

4. If sniffing dogs are needed/used: They need to sniff something that has not been touched by anyone else. So don’t touch your child’s stuff (like I did).

5. Kids need to have all the important phone numbers ON them. Again, there are all sorts of ways to do this. My favorite product is our shoe sticker kit. I then like to add a child ID bracelet to this as a secondary.

6. Talk to kids about the idea that helping others is not always them doing something. That many times it is telling an adult about the situation and getting the adult to help with the issue.

Now the WHOLE Story:
It was a nice afternoon when we got home from school, we all stayed outside. We went for a walk and the boys played. I finally needed to come in to start dinner. My oldest and youngest came in with me. My middle son stayed out to play. He was playing in the driveway with a couple of other kids.

Around 5-5:15pm I saw him and a neighbor girl head out of our yard chasing her dog. I saw them go across the street and through a couple of yards headed to her house (3 doors up). I assumed they were going to her yard to play.

Around 5:30 I looked out the window to see where he was and did not see them. I picked up the baby and headed out to check on him. I called up toward the house where I thought he was playing. After 2-3 yells, I heard that mom calling for the little girl. I said “They aren’t up there?” She said “No.”

NOTE: It was getting dark here ~5:30-5:45pm this time of year and it was turning cold, as the sun goes down.

I immediately turned and started out behind my house (God guided me, I have no idea why I thought they would be back that way). I went through 2 yards behind me. Yelling as loud as I could. I heard a cry. I ran to the woods. I found the little girl just a little ways in the woods. She told me that my son had gone this way chasing her dog and that she could not keep up. She was barely 6 so that was about all she could give me. I again yelled for my son and heard NOTHING! I got her to come with me and started running her home. We were meet by her father. I told him my son was missing in the woods. He went right in looking/calling for him.

I went back and forth to the woods and to neighbor houses getting some to take my little one and go to my house to be with my older one. The neighbor said my son was not answering and he was calling the county. I agreed and asked another neighbor to also call 911. I spoke to the 911 operator and she said they were on the way and that they would have sirens on. That I needed to get photos ready. I also thought it would be good to have some of his clothes for the dogs. I got them out of the dirty cloths hamper.

When the police arrived they wanted to know height, weight, hair color, what he was wearing, photos, and what happened. When I said I had some of his cloths for the dogs, the policeman told me that they would want the dog to sniff something that no one else had touched.

Their first step was to search my house. They got the helicopter ready to go, had dogs on the way and an ambulance came.

While the police were in my house searching (I was not with them, I stated outside), the phone rang. The neighbor watching my kids answered and it was a lady saying that she had found a boy. The neighbor gave the phone to the police.

My son was about a mile away in another neighborhood. My son came home in a police car, to a mom that could only hold him tight and cry.

The ordeal was probably less than 30 minutes for me but I assure you, it seemed like an ETERNITY!!!

There are many things I have talked with my kids about. But for them to NOT chase a dog (we don’t have a dog) into the woods is not one that had crossed my mind. My son was in Tiger Cubs that year and he had been around cub scouting for over 3 years already. He told us he was trying to be a good scout and help her catch her dog.

WHAT IF:
What if this had happened at my parents house in another town or my in-laws in another state? What if he could not have remember his number because of being scared? What if this type thing happened when we were on vacation? What if this happened when he was at a friends house?

These what if’s are why I LOVE the child safety products I sell. They are simple, inexpensive and  effective. But, my prayer with every order is that the products will never HAVE to be used.

Looking back I see God’s hand taking care of the whole thing:  Me going to the woods immediately, that the little girl had not gone deeper in the woods so I knew what happened, my son keeping up with the dog which lead him to another neighborhood instead of out in the middle of the woods, that he found a nice person to ask help from instead of someone that would hurt him. I thank God for being with me and with my son.