During our recent staff trip to Disney World, I was reminded how easy it is to get separated from fellow travelers. All it takes is a quick stop for a photo op or a momentary magical distraction and you find yourself separated from your fellow travelers.
Of course, we were a group of moms visiting Disney on "business". We were there to update our training and to bring our clients the latest Disney vacation planning information and tips. When one of us got separated, we simply whipped out our cell phone and we were immediately reunited with one another whether by app or by voice.
I admit...I am certainly going to date myself here. I confess my mind wandered back to a period of VERY ancient history...a time before cell phones. As I snapped the shutter on the photo of the Main Street Crowds here, I found myself commenting out loud to my fellow moms...
"How the hell did I ever survive Disney with little kids before the invention of cell phones?"
As you can imagine, my comment sparked a very lively discussion of parental coping mechanisms, especially from colleague Becca Bell. She knew I had done Disney World as a single parent. Becca is also a single mom with two girls ages 5 & 3. She is planning a Disney vacation this summer with them and one of her girls is "a runner". When she asked how I coped, I said I used a leash for my middle daughter who was also "a runner".
My confession led to several judgemental comments from my fellow group of moms. This quickly was followed by giggles and chuckles when I reminded them all of that "Modern Family" episode when Mitchell & Cam use a leash for their daughter Lilly when they visit Disneyland....
Obviously there is nothing funny about child safety. It is a paramount issue for parents. Still I think Modern Family does a great job of using humor to demostrate the pros & cons of different parenting styles. I agree with Mitchell that we need to explain our rules and teach children crowd safety and stranger danger. Young kids do learn by constant reminders and reinforcement. I appreciate that it's a matter of compromise but honestly, as the parent of a former "squirrel chaser", I am comforted by Cam's Kangaroo pouch idea. This is especially true when kids outnumber parents because you only have so many eyeballs and hands....and all it takes is just one second.
Despite our different parenting styles, Becca and I whole heartedly agree that crowd safety needs to be a parent's number one priority when visiting Disney Parks. Our good natured debate continued during our entire Walt Disney World stay. She would throw me a side glance and eye roll whenever we happened upon a leashed child. In return, I'd clear my throat whenever we'd see a frantic parent dashing after "a runner". We agreed to disagree.
Soon after returning to our office I was introduced to a product that I think might be a very good compromise for parents wrestling with the "to leash or not to leash" debate. It's called Safety Tats.
The mother of this brilliant invention is Michele Welsh. She found herself as one of those frantic theme park moms so her smart solution was to write her cell phone number on the arms of her three kids in ball point pen while explaining her crowd safety rules. Due to heat, sweat and wet, she had to reapply her cell phone number several times during the day. She thought there had to be a better way and voila Safety tats were born.
Now parents can custom make custom their own custom safety tats that will last for 1 - 5 days! Parents receive 24 custom safety tats for $19.99.
Not only are safety tats a no brainer for keeping your kids safe in theme park crowds, you'll use them for other crowded events like first days of school and field trips. If you have a runner in your family, you may need them every time you go to the mall?
Besides runners, Safety tats also offer peace of mind to parents of children who have allergies or specific medical issues. If your child is allergic to peanuts but wants a little vacation freedom to play at the kids club, safety tats serve as an excellent reminder for child care staff. They can even be translated into different languages.
FINALLY...Becca and I both agree that safety tats are an excellent compromise. Of course parents always need to remain diligent and take the time to teach and reinforce safety rules with their children. We both think Safety Tats offers an alternative or compromise to a child leash.
We want to hear what you parents out there think?
Where do you stand on this parenting debate?
Leash or no leash?
Safety tats or No?....tell us