When I have a child, I would love to take them out on shopping trips for adventures into the big wide world that yearns to be explored. I will warn them, however, of some of the dangers they will face – fast cars, thugs, getting lost in large places.

“What do we do if we get lost, mummy?” they will ask staring up into my eyes in search of reassurance.

Until this week, I would have told them to stay where they are and ask the nearest person for help. But now, I am sad to say, that I feel I could offer no reassurance for my children in that situation.

On Tuesday (March 25), Channel 5 aired a programme called ‘Little Girl Lost’, which included an experiment where two girls, one five, the other seven, took it in turns to act ‘lost’ in a busy shopping centre and see if anyone would come to their aid.

The results of that investigation were more than shocking. An extortionate 616 people simply ignored the ‘lost’ girls, some couples even parted to walk around the small children who were inconveniently blocking their path.

What is worse perhaps, is the fact that only one person actually stopped to see if there was a problem. Yes, just one.

 

I am not yet old enough to even consider how I, as a parent, would feel if those two girls were my own children, but I do feel that I would lose all faith in the public, knowing that, if anything had happened to my child, they could have maybe prevented it.

I do not expect your average Joe to act as a lifesaver or hero if my child ended up alone in a busy place, but I would at least like to think that they made the effort to stop and ask if they were okay or needed help. I would like to preserve that little faith I have.

I agree with the NSPCC who say that the results from the investigation are shocking, and that parents should step in if they believe that a child could be lost.

I wonder if, in today’s society, the anxious thought that anyone who approaches a lone child does so with the wrong intentions could be the reason why so many people ignored the two girls. Perhaps they were concerned that people would think badly of them for wandering over to an innocent child?

Nonetheless, I do believe that the willingness to help others, especially those more vulnerable than ourselves, should override those initial hesitant thoughts. Make it your good deed of the day to check if a child wandering alone is safe, as if you were ever to be a parent in that position with your own child, you would want that reassurance too. 

Would you walk on by if a child was lost?