EUGENE, Ore. — The Lane County Fair kicks off Wednesday and thousands of families are ready to gather at the fairgrounds. But how can people keep their kids safe among such huge crowds and reconnect if they get lost?
At last year’s fair, there was an average of 15 kids separated from their parents every single day. But with the use of wristbands and other security measures, no child was missing for more than eight minutes.
The wristbands are free and available at every gate. Security guards will write the parents’ cell phone number and the child’s name on the inside. Officials don’t recommend putting a child’s name on any outside clothing items, so that strangers can’t call them by name.
Fair officials say to take a picture of children on the day of the fair to remember what they’re wearing at the time they went missing.
Officials say the favorite places for kids to stray if they get separated is the food vending areas, animal barns and the carnival.
Mary Graves, Guardian Event Security Services Supervisor, says the main thing is to contact security the second contact with a child is lost.
“We have way more eyes and with our radios we get the description out way faster than just one or two pairs of eyes from parents looking,” said Graves.
Once a child is reported missing, every security guard, around 60, is notified of the child’s description and no children are allowed to leave the fairgrounds if they match the description.
Last week, Guardian Event Security Services provided security in Springfield where one child was missing for exactly one minute.