Kmart staff member's reaction to missing child baffles mum

Sarah Carty
·Features & Style Editor

As any parent will know all too well, there’s nothing worse than that heart-stopping moment when you turn around and your child isn’t where you left them.

If that happens in a shop, the first thing most people do is head straight for a member of staff to call out their child’s name over the intercom.

However, one mum has revealed that when her child went missing in Kmart on Friday, staff refused to announce it, as it would be a ‘child protection issue’.

Outside of Kmart shop
One mum discovered Kmart refuse to announce missing children in store. Photo: AAP

“My mum and dad took my 3 year old son to Kmart today and my son decided to hide. He was missing for 15 minutes. My dad stayed at the front entrance to catch him on the way out if he tried to leave,” she started her post on a Facebook group.

“They asked to make an announcement and they were refused saying they couldn’t due to child protection issue.”

She then asked other parents what they should have done in that situation if the store refused to call out a child’s name.

People took to the comments section of her post to debate the matter, with many saying they wholeheartedly agree with the shop’s decision, as if there was a predator around the area, an announcement would only serve to alert them to a child on their own.

“The issue is if you call out over the speaker what the child is wearing, Kmart is worried that alerts a potential predator in store that there is an opportunity to snatch the lost child. I would have told the front staff member what they were wearing and stop any child before leaving, then walked around myself call the child’s name. Such a scary situation,” one person said.

Mum's message about missing child in Kmart on Facebook
The mum took to a Facebook group to ask what could have been done to find the child. Photo: Facebook

“I work in a retail store and when we have a missing child, we call all available staff to the front and let them know the situation and then go looking for the child. We’re not allowed to announce that there’s a missing child anymore,” another commenter said.

Others were baffled at the rule and said they would have no idea what to do in the situation of a missing child.

“Other than shouting his name and telling other parents what the kid is wearing I would have no clue,” one mum said.

“If their policy is to not announce it, they must have a different policy in place. Were they able to tell your parents what it was and help that way? Surely, they have to have a plan,” another person said.

Kmart confirmed to Yahoo Lifestyle however, that they do not have a policy restricting the use of PA announcements in-store.

“We deeply apologise for the miscommunication that has occurred here,” a spokesperson said.

“The safety and welfare of our customers is our number one priority, and we want everyone who visits us instore to have an enjoyable experience.

“We are sorry that on this occasion, this has not occurred. We will be re-educating all store team members this morning.”

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