Remember those days you forgot to buy one or two items and you could whiz back to the store and park, jump out and run inside to grab the last few items all within 20 minutes. Now it takes about 20 minutes just to load the car before taking off to shop. If you’re like me, you either have a list of items digitally imputed in your notes or magically have a few hours to kill and decide to roam around target and spend the extra hundred you promised you would never spend again on meaningless items. That being said, this usually happens with little ones in tow. Whenever I’m shopping alone with the kids, I feel like I’m wearing a sign that reads….”most vulnerable person in the parking lot!” If someone wanted to mug me, I’d let them take the purse, car, wallet, whatever…..but don’t you dare come near the kids!!!! In recent weeks we have been hearing a lot about kidnappings and mugging incidents and there will be an increase in the coming weeks. My own grandmother has had her purse snatched at the mall in broad daylight, they don’t discriminate. After our trip to Europe this past summer, I learned a few tips that I’m going to be implementing when shopping alone or with the kids.
Top Tips for Safe Holiday Shopping
1: Wear Your Valuables: Leave your nice handbag at home. Try to wear your money, phone, keys and lip gloss on you!!!! You don’t have to go as far as the tourist fanny packs, but I would highly recommend cross body purses with the purse directly in front of you. Try to even wear a sweater over the strap, so that it’s even harder to see or even snatch.
2: Pack Light: I remember my first diaper bag was this huge bulky bag with all sorts of compartments allowing me to pack a weeks’ worth of everything for a simple trip to the grocery. Which lead me to packing my wallet, phone and cosmetic bag. For safety and convenience sake, try to pack only the kids’ necessities: diapers, wipes, nose wipes, snacks, Sippy cut and an extra pair of clothes. In case you lose it or worse, get it stolen, those are all items that can easily be replaced. A small backpack that either you or toddler can wear have been the best bet for me.
3: Prep Time: Before leaving the house, I make the usual trip to the car to pack the bags before getting the kids in. If your children are still in their car seats try to pack their diaper bag in the space between your seat and their car seat.
4: Parking and Getting Off: Always try to park within well-lit areas. When getting off your vehicle, this is where the diaper bag storage place comes in handy. When getting your little one out, make sure you have the diaper bag and purse in arm’s length. Stroller should be popped open ready for your little one.
5: Making a Grand Entrance: Whether at Target or at the mall, make sure you store your keys, phone, wallet and any other valuables on you (cross body purse). Also, make sure to keep an eye on your surroundings and look for any followers.
6: Loading up: This is the part, that when I’m done, I feel the most accomplished. It’s what I start thinking about the moment I’m about to walk out the doors.
First: Always have your keys in your hand. The panic button needs to be on standby at all times. Keep your phone handy for emergency call, but don’t be talking on it. End any calls before heading to your car. You must be alert at all times.
Second: Load your purchases first! Have your little one closest to you. I’d rather them mug me or take may car with my belongings than with my most valuable!
Third: Park the cart or store the stroller.
Lastly: Buckle little one in. Always in that order, even if you have more than one with you, make sure that all of you get in the car as close to the same time as possible.
7: Driving home: Always keep an eye on the road behind you and try to avoid the same paths home. People know when, what time and who frequents shopping areas.