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The holiday season is in full swing, and one look at any mall parking lot will tell you that people are still out shopping. With so many people milling about – intent on getting that one key item on the list – the shopping mall environment can become hazardous, especially for children. As if dangerous toys and tainted products aren’t enough to worry about, parents need to be concerned about the safety of their children in these crowded areas.

Perhaps the greatest danger is being separated from your child. In a busy store, it can be easy to get distracted for just a moment and lose track of your child’s whereabouts. While many stores have a procedure for finding and reuniting lost children and their parents, you never want to have to use it. Be sure to talk to your kids about safe behavior in crowded places. Warn them not to talk to strangers and not to wander off where you can’t see them.

While crowded areas can be dangerous, it is not a safe alternative to leave children in your car while you shop. Cars are not well insulated, and as temperatures plunge outside, the interior of a car can become dangerously cold. Hypothermia is a very real possibility, and a young child may try to leave the car if it is too cold and get injured. Leaving a child in a running car can be dangerous as well.

This holiday season should be safe and enjoyable for everyone. By being aware of your surroundings and using a little common sense, you can make sure your children stay safe during this busy time of year.

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