New Alert Model: Finding Children Lost On the Beach


SAUSALITO, CA (ASRN.ORG) – In Argentina, when a lost child is spotted on the beach, people take the matter into their own hands.  Literally.  When someone sees a child lost on the beach, they begin to clap their hands.  The sound of the clapping immediately spreads to others nearby, and soon everyone in the immediate area is clapping their hands.  The sound is unmistakable.  The alert is well known and understood by all beachgoers.  The parents move (run) towards the clapping and with tremendous relief, find their lost child to a roar of cheers, applause and relief. 

It is perhaps a unique and effective “Amber Alert” for children lost on the beach. It is a socially responsible, collective attitude and behavior that puts everyone present in the role of first-responders at an emergency. 

Like many children lost on beaches in the U.S., many times children in Argentina will go and play in the water and return disoriented among dense crowds that line the beach. They will begin to wander in search of their family in the wrong direction and end up lost. 

Here’s how the “Clap Your Hands Alert” works: The first person that sees a lost child hoists them up on his or her shoulders and begins to clap their hands. The local crowd at the starting point is encouraged to commence a synchronized clap and the clapping grows louder and louder. The attention of all beach goers is then gathered momentarily.  The parents hear this clapping and knows their child has been found.  They move to the center of the clapping and find their missing child. 

Fascinating!  Heart warming. Effective. A truly communal effort that is simply understood- accepted, known and has become the social norm in Argentina. This has been their way the lost child problem has been successfully resolved for decades.

Now widely used in Brazil, it’s time for us to adopt the “Clap Your Hands Alert” for the thousands of children lost every day during the summer months on beaches throughout this country. It should be taught in every K-12 classroom, teaching curriculum, and publicized through public service announcements. 

It’s common knowledge along Argentina’s shores.  It’s time for it to be common practice throughout  this country as well as the entire world. 

Copyright 2011- American Society of Registered Nurses (ASRN.ORG)-All Rights Reserved 


Articles in this issue:


  • Masthead

    Editor-in Chief:
    Kirsten Nicole

    Editorial Staff:
    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Robyn Bowman
    Kimberly McNabb
    Lisa Gordon
    Stephanie Robinson

    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Liz Di Bernardo
    Cris Lobato
    Elisa Howard
    Susan Cramer

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