Ex-Pat News

How not to lose a child

If you’re Morzine-bound for your annual family ski holiday this month, consider this post to be a public safety announcement.

Every day at least one child goes missing while skiing in Morzine. That’s a stat that will send shivers down the spines of parents who love nothing more than a day on the mountain with their little ones.

Fortunately you’re in very safe hands as our local mountain professionals are highly trained to detail with the full range of mountain emergencies, and specifically, lost children.

From the piste security office at the base of Morzine’s Pleney, the hunt for lost children is coordinated with military precision.

“It’s actually not as difficult as you might imagine to lose a child on the slopes” the team told us. “It happens every day, at least once, and more times during the busy school holidays”.

Now, these tips on how to not lose your children during a ski holiday sound really obvious. But you’d be very surprised how many parents don’t know what action to take, should the worst happen.

STEP 1 – Tag your children

By this we mean make sure that they’re identifiable in some way. Upon discovering a lost child, the first thing piste security will do is hunt for your contact details in your child’s coat pocket. Many a lost child drama has been solved in minutes by the presence of a note in a pocket including the following details:

  1. Child’s name
  2. Your telephone number
  3. Another emergency telephone number
  4. The name of your hotel or chalet if you’re here on holiday

STEP 2 – Proceed to your nearest lift station

Drill your children to ski to their nearest lift station and tell the lift operator they are lost. They will understand “I’m lost” in English. When children do this, the average time they’re missing is just 15-20 minutes (We know, it’ll still feel like 15-20 hours…)

If you can’t find your child on the mountain, you should also proceed to your nearest lift station and report the lost child to the lift operator. Do this before you start searching for them yourself. Give them your child’s name, age, the colour of their clothing and details of where they were last seen. If you’re far from a lift station, call +33 (0) 4 50 79 84 55 immediately.

As soon as a lift operator is alerted to a missing child, a communication is sent via radio on two different channels – one for piste security and another to all the lift operators in the network. Instantly, many many pairs of eyes are looking out for your little one.

STEP 3 – Head down

A child will remain at the lift station for between 10 and 15 minutes in the hope that their parents will arrive to collect them. If that doesn’t happen, they’ll be taken to the base of the Pleney by a pisteur.

Considering the number of little ones reported missing each day in our mountains, children are 99.9% always reunited with their parents quickly and easily. You can do your bit by following the practical advice above!

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