Cape Town Parents Need New Resolutions After Losing 500 Kids On New Year’s Day

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beachSome parents in Cape Town, South Africa are going to want to rewrite their New Year’s resolutions this week after 500 children were reported lost at New Year’s Day celebrations on Thursday.

The first day of 2015 was a beautiful day to hit Cape Town’s beaches and lose all of its children. Around 200,000 people went to the beach on Thursday, according to The LA Times, and by the end of the day almost 500 children, some as young as three, had been turned into the police.

That’s a lot of kids.

I can see how kids could easily get lost in that kind of environment. Almost every parent has had that moment of panic when we turn our heads for one second and then can’t see our kids. Losing 500 kids in one day, however, takes the kind of effort that could only come from an enormous, but poorly organized game of hide and seek. I’m going to assume that’s what happened here.

What’s insane, however, is that by the end of the day seventy of those kids (most under the age of seven) still hadn’t been claimed by their parents. They were taken to the police station, where they spent the night. Seventy kids. I can’t…I mean…how could you…and that is my thoughtful analysis of the situation.

One South African Twitter user agrees with me in this quote from the L.A. Times:

“I am battling to understand, how do you lose a child on a beach? And you still go home? It is sad,” tweeted one Cape Town resident with the Twitter handle WaMputhi. “If I travelled with a child, I will not leave without him/her even if it means no sleep searching,” he added in another tweet.

WaMputhi nailed it. How do you lose your kid and then somehow manage not to make it to the police station within 24 hours?! The police station is the first place you go after removing your head from your ass, rinsing the sand off of it, and realizing you’ve lost a child or two. Who doesn’t do that? It would be one thing if we were talking about one neglectful idiot, but how do the parents of seventy kids not do that? The Cape Town police even planned for this kind of thing by offering wristbands for kids to wear at the beach with their parents’ contact information on them. Next year they’re going to need to post signs in the parking lots saying:

Do you have your:

  • Id
  • Shoes
  • Hat
  • Wallet
  • Beach bag
  • Child

If the answer to the last one is ‘no’, you need to find a police officer. Yes, right now.

In the meantime, Cape Town police have had to go to the media to ask these parents to call the police station and get their kids. I will bet you dollars to donuts that some parent is going to stroll in there today and say, “Hey, do you guys have a lost and found? I think I left my kid at the beach yesterday. He’s about medium-sized, he’s got hair at the top and then, like, two arms. I’m pretty sure he has a face too, but it’s been a while since I’ve looked at him real close. You know how it is.”

(Photo: Jan Kranendonk / Shutterstock)