Shopping centre safety

Below are some tips to keep you, your belongings and children safe in shopping centres.
A man should carry his wallet in the front pocket of his pants, rather than in a back pocket or in his jacket.
A woman should hold her handbag close to her body, with the opening facing toward her. When walking with another person, the handbag should be held between the two. Never leave your purchases unattended, even for a few minutes.
Always try to walk to and from your vehicle with another person. If you are shopping alone, consider walking near other shoppers in the parking area.
If shopping alone and leaving at night, particularly if you’re carrying several packages, ask a security officer to accompany you to your car.
Inside a centre, avoid darkened hallways and other backroom areas, especially near closing time.
Avoid using bathrooms which are tucked away in a back area of a centre. If you can, find a bathroom near the centre’s food court or other well-trafficked areas. Always accompany your child to the bathroom.
Never use a video arcade or toy store as a baby sitter; predators are on the prowl for unattended children.
If you take 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.
Remove your child’s jersey once you are indoors; overheated children can get very cranky. Shop with another adult, so you can take turns browsing and minding the children. Keep children close by at all times, and do not let them wander around unsupervised.
Point out security guards so your child knows where to go for help if he/she gets lost. When you have to wait in line, give your child a book, toy or snack to keep him/her occupied. Avoid stores with narrow aisles and shelves teetering with fragile items. Be clear and firm about what your child can and cannot touch.
Mangled hands and feet, lacerated tendons, broken or cut-off fingers and toes and even head injuries, all are documented escalator injuries. Children can fall and get caught when they run, walk, sit or play on moving escalators.
Those aged six and younger are in the highest risk category.
In some 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.
Check for loose or dangling items of clothing before stepping on. Loose shoelaces and drawstrings can get trapped in an escalator’s moving parts.
Lift 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.
When 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. Also, the people behind you can bump into you if you don’t get off fast enough.
Make sure your child does not lean on the handrail , the excess weight can slow the whole stairway down and throw riders off balance.
Park as close to entrances and exits as you can. No one wants to circle the parking area for an hour waiting for a good spot to open up, but give it a shot, at least for a few minutes.
If forced to the far reaches of a parking area, or even beyond it, seek a spot that’s well-lit or near a well-travelled roadway.
Stow your purchases in the trunk. When you’re weighed down with packages, you may be tempted to throw them on 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.
Save your most expensive purchases for last, so you can head straight home.
Have your keys ready when you approach your vehicle. Before entering, check that no one is hiding on the back seat.

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