Parents across the country know the feeling too well – the heart-stopping moment when you can’t find your child in a busy store.

The first thing that crosses your mind is to head straight to the customer service desk for a call to be made out over the intercom.

However, Kmart’s new rule prevents workers from doing this as it would be a “child protection issue”.

“My mum and dad took my 3 year old son to Kmart today and my son decided to hide. He was missing for 15 minutes. My dad stayed at the front entrance to catch him on the way out if he tried to leave,” one mother wrote on the Northern Beaches Mums Facebook group.

“They asked to make an announcement and they were refused saying they couldn’t due to child protection issue.”

She asked the group what should have been done in that situation, and people were not afraid to speak their mind.

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“The issue is if you call out over the speaker what the child is wearing, Kmart is worried that alerts a potential predator in store that there is an opportunity to snatch the lost child. I would have told the front staff member what they were wearing and stop any child before leaving, then walked around myself call the child’s name. Such a scary situation,” one person wrote.

Another commented: “I work in a retail store and when we have a missing child, we call all available staff to the front and let them know the situation and then go looking for the child. We’re not allowed to announce that there’s a missing child anymore.”

Others were completely unaware of the new rule, and hadn’t even thought about what they’d do in that situation.

“If their policy is to not announce it, they must have a different policy in place. Were they able to tell your parents what it was and help that way? Surely, they have to have a plan.”

The new policy prohibits workers from announcing missing children over the intercom due to child protection policies.

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