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through crowded malls while carrying your
jacket, juggling countless bags and keeping your
child from breaking anything you can't afford to
buy makes you an attractive target to criminals
looking to grab wallets, purses and your
purchases. To stymie would-be thieves:
should carry his wallet in the front pocket of
his pants, rather than in a back pocket or in
woman should hold her purse close to her
body, with the opening facing toward her;
when walking with another person, the purse
should be held between the two.
you can, avoid using revolving doors --
particularly the automatic kind. A thief
with good timing can grab a purse or package
and make a quick getaway in the time it
takes you to emerge.
purchases into one or two large shopping
bags so you can keep track of everything.
leave your purchases unattended, even for a
more on how to avoid pickpockets, click here.
SAFETY IN MALLS
threat of physical assault does not necessarily
increase along with the crowds that herald the
holiday season. It's when you're far from the
crowd, in distant reaches of parking lots or
other isolated areas of the mall that you are
most vulnerable. To protect yourself:
try to walk to and from your vehicle with
another person. If you are shopping alone,
consider walking near other shoppers in the
shopping alone and leaving at night --
particularly if you're carrying several
bundles -- ask a security officer to
accompany you to your car. Most malls will
provide that service.
a mall, avoid darkened hallways and other
backroom areas, especially near closing
using bathrooms that are tucked away in a
back area of a mall concourse or department.
If you can, find a bathroom near the mall's
food court or other well-trafficked area.
And always accompany your child to the
use a video arcade or toy store as a baby
sitter; predators are on the prowl for
unattended children. More then 100,000
children are abducted every year -- often in
malls or department stores, according to the
National Center for Missing and Exploited
out whether the malls and stores you
frequent have procedures to search for a
missing child. Wal-Mart, Home Depot and
Target are among retailers participating in
a program developed by the NCME. The
program, called "Code Adam," was
named after Adam Walsh, a 6-year-old Florida
boy who was killed after being abducted from
a shopping mall in 1981. As soon as a child
is reported missing, employees scour the
aisles. If the child doesn't turn up after
10 minutes, the police are notified.
WITH CHILDREN WHEN SHOPPING DURING THE HOLIDAYS
shopping can be chaotic, tiring and frustrating.
Just imagine how much more of an ordeal it may
be to a young child dragged from one store to
the next as you work your way down your shopping
list. The Massachusetts Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Children offers these
guidelines to keep tots from being pushed beyond
their endurance, and older children from
wandering off or otherwise getting into trouble
out of boredom:
bring infants or toddlers on a shopping trip,
limit the excursion to one or two hours. Also,
make sure your child is rested and fed before
you head out.
your child's coat or sweater once you are
indoors; overheated children can get awfully
with another adult, so you can take turns
browsing and minding the children.
children close by at all times, and do not
let them wander around unsupervised.
out security guards, so your child knows
where to go for help if he gets lost.
you have to wait in line, give your child a
book, toy or snack to keep him occupied.
stores with narrow aisles and shelves
teetering with fragile items. Be clear and
firm about what your child can and cannot
CART SAFETY TIPS FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON
21,600 children end up in the hospital each year
after they've fallen -- or even leaped -- from
shopping carts, according to the National Safe
Kids Campaign. Children 5 years old and younger,
particularly boys, are especially at risk.
Shopping cart injuries include head and neck
trauma, fractures, lacerations and damage to
internal organs. Three children have died.
the problem is that shopping carts can tip over
easily because the wheel base is narrow. Adding
to a cart's instability, children have a hard
time sitting still.
compiled by the National Safe Kids Campaign show
that 80 percent of parents leave their children
unattended at least once during a shopping trip.
The only way to keep children safe is to stay
with the cart at all times. Even if you strap
your child into the cart seat, he may still
manage to tip the cart over. Just wiggling out
of the harness or seat belt can quickly
unbalance an already unstable load. To keep
shopping carts from tipping over:
young children in the seat, not the basket.
the cart comes equipped with a harness, use
it. Otherwise, bring your own.
you've got a child walking alongside you,
make sure he does not try to climb inside
the cart to join his brother or sister. You
might want to pack a second child into a
stroller or backpack -- it's cumbersome, but
not a good idea to let a child push or steer
the cart for you. He may not see or be seen
by shoppers and could be struck or run over
by other carts. Those miniature carts some
stores supply for children to push pose the
same problem, so stay close by and make sure
your shopper-in-training follows the flow of
hands and feet, lacerated tendons, broken or cut
off fingers and toes, head injuries -- all are
documented escalator injuries. Children can fall
and get caught when they run, walk, sit or play
on moving escalators. Those age 6 and younger
are at highest risk.
cases, escalator injuries occur when children
get their hands caught between moving and
stationary parts of the handrail. Others are
hurt while playing at the foot of the escalator
and becoming entangled in the machinery of the
comb plate at the bottom of the stairs.
uncommon -- fewer than 1,000 are reported each
year -- escalator injuries are usually serious.
Luckily, most such accidents are avoidable.
Teaching your children to face forward, to hold
both an adult's hand and the handrail while
riding, to stand still and keep feet away from
the edge of the step are probably the best
preventive measures, according to the Escalator
your child and yourself safe:
for loose or dangling items of clothing before
stepping on. Loose shoelaces, mittens and
drawstrings can get trapped in an escalator's
moving parts, cautions the National Safety
toddlers on and off the step. Shoes and
boots with soft rubber soles have been known
to slip into cracks between steps and the
escalator wall, so try to keep those little
feet planted firmly on the step.
you're shopping with a child in a stroller,
always use the elevator. Escalator steps
aren't wide enough to accommodate a
stroller, so its weight may not be evenly
balanced on the step; if the stroller tips
over, you and your baby could take a nasty
tumble. The stroller may also block your
view of the bottom of the escalator,
increasing your odds of tripping. And the
people behind you can bump into you if you
don't get off fast enough.
sure your child does not lean on the
handrail -- the excess weight can slow the
whole stairway down and throw riders off
your child does tumble or get caught, there
are emergency stop buttons on every
escalator, usually near the bottom but
sometimes alongside the stairs. Take a
minute to locate them before you get on.
CAR BREAK IN'S AT MALLS
parking areas fill during the holiday season,
shoppers are often forced to park far from mall
exits, sometimes in poorly lighted areas. Now
that there is less daylight, you're likely to
find yourself entering the mall while the sun is
up and leaving after dark, so make sure there
are lights nearby before parking. Other parking
close to entrances and exits as you can. No one
wants to circle the lot for an hour waiting for
a good spot to open up, but give it a shot, at
least for a few minutes.
forced to the far reaches of a lot -- or
even beyond the lot -- seek a spot that's
well-lighted or near a well-traveled
your purchases in the trunk. When you're
weighed down with packages, you may be
tempted to throw them in the back seat and
return to the mall to continue shopping. If
your purchases are in plain view, you may
return to find your car windows smashed and
your presents stolen.
your most expensive purchases for last, so
you can head straight home.
your keys ready when you approach your
vehicle. Before entering, check that no one
is hiding in the back seat.
teller machines are handy to have around when
you're spending it up at the mall and don't want
to max out your credit cards. But while ATMs
make it easier for you to get to your money,
they provide the same service for thieves.
protect yourself, handle your bank card with the
same prudence you would cash or credit cards and
keep it in a safe place. Memorize your PIN code
so you won't have to write it on your card or a
piece of paper, and carry it in your purse or
wallet. And keep your PIN to yourself -- if
others are nearby waiting to use the ATM, don't
let them see which buttons you press.
bank with an ATM located in a highly visible,
you must withdraw money from an ATM after
dark, have someone accompany you. Also, try
not to make large cash withdrawals.
you see anyone loitering near the machine
who looks or acts suspicious, walk away.
time spent at the ATM by having your card in
your hand and resisting the temptation to
count the money after it has been dispensed.
using an ATM, look around from time to time
to and be aware of what's going on around
you. If anything suspicious happens,
immediately cancel your transaction and
leave your receipt in the machine. Also,
keep your receipts so you can check them
against your monthly bank statements.
more on ATM Crime, click here.
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