The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) is helping parents make sure their children don’t get lost through its program, Don’t Run Around, Stay Found.
Program leaders talk with young children at local schools and libraries to teach them what to do if they ever become separated from their parents, or another adult they are with.
The program is aimed towards children in preschool through third grade, but can be tailored towards various age groups.
Program experts told NBC 7, if children become lost inside a store, they should ask an employee for help, and never leave the store.
If children lose sight of their parents at a park, they should find a law enforcement officer.
Pam Medhurst, a K-9 leader at SDSO's Search and Rescue team, has been working with the program for the last 17 years.
"When they are this young, a couple of messages we want them to remember is that they're not in trouble, that we're here to help them and their parents aren't going to punish them,” said Medhurst. “So if they see us looking for them, not to hide, that orange is good, the search dogs are friendly. No one is going to get in trouble for needing our help."
An interactive website put together by SDSO helps children and their parents review search tips together.