Losing a kid at Sea World #AdventureCon13

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We have had a fabulous day at Sea World San Antonio! (I’m here for a blogging conference for the weekend, called #AdventureCon13!) We have enjoyed rides, shows, great eats…friends and great laughs while in the park today! With 6 kids in tow, we have felt pretty “on it” with keeping up with their endless needs of food, potty breaks and play. Four adults, 6 kids… not a bad ratio when you consider that one was in the stroller most of the day and that one is an 8 yr old who is fairly self sufficient.

The happy warm fuzzies that Shamu brought us at Shamu Rocks show tonight were quickly robbed from us as we noticed that we were missing a child. She walked out of Shamu with us and then she was gone. And then she was gone… It happened so quickly. There one minute, gone the next. Because she’s 8 and super smart, I figured she wandered off to look at something and was quickly returning. We yelled her name… nothing. The first ten minutes I was angry… she had better make her way back and FAST. The second ten minutes I spent telling employees… anyone and everyone of them. They connected us with a security professional and that felt better. They are official and have a walkie talking and all. He was awesome and stayed calm…which I needed. The third 10 minutes, I was in a full blown panic. I tweeted to let my #Wildside13 friends know to keep an eye out, I FB’d as well asking for prayers. 30 minutes felt like an eternity with a missing child! The last 15 minutes, I felt hopeless. How could my day go from total bliss from an awesome day in the park, to sheer terror. Every mom fears losing a child, no one expects it.

45 minutes was enough time for every bad possibility to run thru my head. My temporary reality felt like a bad nightmare and surreal. I couldn’t escape it and not knowing where she was stirred up all kinds of emotions in me. We had talked about this before… she KNOWS my cell phone number, she KNOWS to find an employee and ask for help… yet she did NOT do this. She is smart and knew that it was in our evening plans to see the SeaLion show, so she found a park map and navigated there where she waited outside of the show for us. Made total sense to her. She wasn’t scared or fearful at all…infact she was proud of herself for reading the map and finding her way to the SeaLion show.

If you have been to Sea World San Antonio, then you know it’s not a tiny park….it’s a big park and you can literally walk circles around each other and never cross paths…there are several ways to get places. The security guard helped us check shops, bathrooms, front entrance and more. He remained confident that we would find her. He stayed with us until she was safe, in our arms again.

We learned a lot tonight! I hope that our scary evening can be prevented for your family and that you never have to face the fear that we felt. Here are a few suggestions to help you out:

1.) Rehearse your cell phone number with your child while enroute to the park. (Write it on their hand w/permanent marker if needed!)
2.) Make sure your child understands to find an employee with a name tag to seek help if needed
3.) Take a photo of your child when you first arrive at the park, incase you need to show it to security. KNOW what they are wearing.
4.) Hold hands in large crowds. Leaving shows can be a really crazy event…especially if you have to get strollers.
5.) Trust the professionals to help you out. It was starting to get dark and we needed as many eyes looking for Chloe as possible. Had we not notified security, it could have taken a lot longer.

Finding her was such a mixed bag of emotions. Angry that she didn’t follow thru with what she KNOWS we want her to do, thankful that she is okay, scared at how easily this happened, grateful that we had so many friends/family praying us thru the scariness. Needless to say, I am exhausted and I’m gonna sleep really well tonight…in my hotel room with my hubby and all THREE of my kiddos!

Hugging my girlies a little tighter tonight and feeling thankful and blessed for a happy reunion! Have you ever lost a child while out and about?

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  1. Oh my goodness! Just catching up on tweets and facebook updates! How scary, yet blessed at the same time! You have me crying and freaking out 5 hours away, even hours later! Great to know all is safe and she was protected! <3

  2. Oh no! I have not been watching my feeds so I didn’t know you were going through this. Oh my goodness, I am so glad that she is okay. God is good ALL the time! Sleep well, Momma, you are doing great! {{hugs}}

  3. Oh Courtney…….so glad everything was okay! I’m thankful!!! Glad I saw your comments AFTER you had her and all was allright……

  4. Courtney Velasquez says

    By the time I saw your posts on FB last night, you had found her and I was so relieved! I cannot imagine all of the emotions that swept through your mind and body. Thank God she is ok !!!

  5. So so scary Courtney. Thank God she was safe and found calm. We lost our little man for a few seconds (FEW SECONDS!) at Disney last month and the feeling was horrible. I can’t even imagine what y’all had to go through. I’m so so sorry. Just so thankful y’all left SW happy. HUGS!

  6. Giant Sis says

    So glad you found her safe and sound – but what an ordeal to go thru! I hope you give her an extra hug today too!

  7. Oh my goodness….you experienced every parent’s worst nightmare for 45 minutes!! That is an eternity in a situation like this! At least you know your little girl will grow up to be independent and resourceful!

  8. I’m so glad y’all found her!!!

  9. This was just so, so scary and I’m so glad that she was found safe and sound. It really is a great lesson to us all. Thank you for sharing tips on how to turn your experience into something positive for the rest of us. ((Hugs))

  10. Such amazing information here! When we went to Disney and Universal we used a tattoo company that had my phone number on it so they could call me if they found them. I didn’t think about taking a photo that day – that’s perfect when you have to give a description. Nothing worse than that feeling and so many ways you’ve given to avoid or help a bad situation go much better!

  11. oh my goodness, i fear this experience and thank GOD you were reunited with your precious girl. nothing will get your praying on your knees like losing a child. thanks for sharing useful tips, great to know since we take a lot of trips to Sea World and will be going to Disneyland in the fall.

  12. We’re going to Sea World San Antonio this weekend with our 9-year-old, so I am glad I read your post. How terrifying! I’m glad it turned out okay.

  13. We got separated from our son on Saturday too, right before the photo walk. He’s only 2.5 and it was 10-15 minutes, but it felt like 3 hours. I don’t think he was even aware he wasn’t with us, but wow, terrifying. So glad you were able to find her safe and sound. When I traveled with my parents, we always had a spot we’d choose to meet, if we got separated for more than 10 minutes. We’d choose it when we got to the park, and only used it a few times, in 18 years.


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