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Lost and Found: Kid Edition

Lenore Skenazy on

Oh, dear, what can the matter be

Oh, dear, what can the matter be?

Oh, dear, what can the matter be?

Johnny's so long at the fair.

That fear is so common and persistent that that song dates back at least to the 1700s, according to ye olde Wikipedia. Thus it has been for generations: Kids get lost at the fair.

Or at least they used to.


But a fascinating piece by Sahar Fatima in the Canadian newspaper The Star found that lost kids are nearly a lost tradition. Fatima interviewed one 60-ish man, Wayne Malley, who recalled getting separated from his folks at age 5 when distracted by the excitement of the Canadian National Exposition.

Back then, Fatima wrote, "Malley was just one of 356 kids who got lost at the CNE on that day alone, at a time when up to 400 used to go missing at the fair every single day. Archives going as far back as the 1920s show a big bustling tent for lost children, and a 1958 Star headline blaring '1,624 lost children' in just one day."

By contrast, five to 12 kids get lost now -- a number only partially explained by the 50% drop in fair attendance. What's going on?

Blame -- or, I guess, praise -- parenting. Parents are keeping far tighter reins (sometimes literally) on their kids.


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Copyright 2019 Creators Syndicate, Inc.


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