A month after moving into their new house, a mom of a 3-year-old found the back door wide open and realized her baby had disappeared.
A mom was frantically searching for her toddler shortly after she found the back door of her new house wide open. However, little did she know there were darker shades to this “missing child” episode.
Narrating her experience to Reddit’s “Breaking Mom” sub, user ptrst said she moved into her new house a month before the incident with her husband and 3-year-old son. As days passed, the stay-at-home mom realized the sliding glass doors in their new residence were, in fact, a “trap.”
On the day of the fateful incident, the Original Poster (OP) tucked her baby in the living room and gave him some grapes to eat. Assured her son would be preoccupied snacking and watching TV, she rushed upstairs to use the bathroom.
Moments later, she started looking something up for her husband, who was at work at the time. Nothing seemed too strange until she headed back downstairs.
After a massive at-home search expedition, the anxious mom realized her toddler had disappeared. She couldn’t help but stare at the wide-open back door.
The mother found the back door of her house wide open & realized the baby had disappeared | Photo: Pexels
OP feared the unthinkable and immediately rushed to the backyard to look for her boy. She had even checked around the house, including the footpaths and the park in the neighborhood, but the baby was nowhere in sight.
A few days after the unsettling incident, the mother woke up to the loud sound of the doorbell.
Although there have been previous instances of the child waking up as early as 4 am to sneak onto the kitchen counters and on top of the fridge to get down his juice boxes, OP couldn’t predict if this episode was similar to those.
OP searched for the toddler outside & around her neighborhood | Photo: Pexels
The mother realized something was off here and immediately followed her instincts to reach out to the cops. Mere moments later, the authorities sent someone over to her residence.
Amidst the frightful search operation, a dog of OP’s neighbor was spotted sniffing onto something across the neighborhood, quickly alerting its owner of an emergency.
Around thirty minutes after the cops arrived, the alleged neighbor, whom OP thought was overbearing yet friendly, walked over to her house carrying someone in her hand. The woman had brought her dog along and was carrying the missing toddler.
A neighbor spotted her dog sniffing onto something & walked over to check it out | Photo: Pexels
OP had an outburst of mixed emotions and cried as she rushed to get her boy from the woman. It turned out the boy had sneaked outside the back door and stole someone’s water can on his lone journey barefoot, wearing pull-ups and no pants.
After that incident, OP made sure to lock all the doors, fearing how she’d messed up by mistakenly leaving one door unlocked. She assumed this would keep her boy from creeping outside again…or so she thought.
A few days after the unsettling incident, the mother woke up to the loud sound of the doorbell. She thought it was strange because there were no previous instances of someone visiting her too early and rushed to open the front door to see who it was at this time of the morning.
On an early morning, OP heard someone ring her doorbell | Photo: Pexels
A different neighbor greeted her this time, holding a briefcase in one hand and a child in another. OP gazed at the child and realized he was her son.
She froze and couldn’t believe her little boy had just gone missing again, only to be miraculously found by the man. The neighbor told her he’d found the boy wandering in the driveway and decided to hand him over to his parent.
Having realized it was too much this time, the mom not only grounded her son but also devised some strict “child lock” protocols to keep her son from sneaking outside.
The man told OP he'd found her son on the driveway | Photo: Pexels
OP told her husband to upgrade the bars for the door and to keep the boy’s bedroom door locked in the morning until she unlocks it herself. As an added safety protocol to keep the toddler from messing up in the kitchen, she’d also started locking him up in his bedroom at night.
After reading the mom’s post, several parents online recounted similar experiences with their toddlers and offered her some tips, starting with the doors.
Parents online also recalled their toddlers sneaking outside the house without their consent | Photo: Pexels
“Hey, I have an escape artist too! If they will fit, get some cheap tension rod curtain rod things and put them at the top of the doors (so you can’t slide them open),” Redditor cultofkefka suggested.
“Oh, that’s a good idea! We got wooden dowels for the bottom, and my 2 y/o figured those out in a heartbeat,” user prettywannapancake said, adding:
“Thankfully, we had a fenced-in yard, and although my kid liked getting outside, she wasn’t really interested in a full escape.”
Meanwhile, a few others suggested to OP how security cameras could come in handy to monitor her son virtually instead of checking up on him every three minutes as she claimed she did.
OP checked on her son every three minutes | Photo: Pexels
“My now five-year-old escaped once when he was three. He had run across the street in the rain, and a neighbor found him and brought him home,” another used recounted, adding:
“I personally opted for security cameras. I can watch him from an app on my phone while in another room.”
OP stated that her son didn’t like it when she stared at him all day long and that she had to rush every three minutes to see that he had not escaped outside again. In the end, the mom said security cameras could be the best option for her to sort the issue.
“Maybe security cameras are the option. Because staring at him 24/7 isn’t, and neither is “hope I notice the next time he decides to just leave,” she concluded.
The mom felt security cameras could be the best option to monitor her son virtually | Photo: Pexels
Questions to Ponder:
Why is it essential for parents with toddlers to double-check the doors are locked?
Regarding OP’s episode involving her missing or rather “escaping” toddler, she said she’d checked all the doors were locked the previous night of the incident but that she’d mistakenly left one door unlocked. Although the scenario could’ve been pretty different had she double-checked the doors, it’s still guesswork if that helped, considering how the baby once again gained access to the outdoors.
What other safety precautions would you advise to keep toddlers from wandering outside the house?
Some parents could relate to OP’s emotional combat and suggested she install door chimes or alarm systems to ensure her baby never gained access to the outdoors without her consent. Others agreed and said even security cameras could come in handy, and even OP felt it was the best option instead of physically monitoring her boy all day. Apart from security upgrades, in what other ways would you ensure your baby is monitored when you're not looking?
If you liked this story, here’s how a man reacted to an unfamiliar woman leaving her 3 children at his doorstep, demanding he looks after them.
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