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If you see a child being abused in public, here are suggestions to help: 

  • Divert the adult's attention. Start a conversation with them, offering sympathy. For example, you could say, "shopping with children can really try your patience, can't it?"
  • Talk to the child. If the child is acting out or misbehaving, start a friendly conversation to distract him or her.
  • Praise the parent or child. Find something positive to say about either of them. "That's a pretty dress your daughter is wearing. Where did you get it?"
  • Offer to help. For example, if a child has been left unattended in a grocery cart, stay near him or her until a caretaker returns.
  • Avoid negative looks or comments. This may only increase the adult's anger, making things worse for the child.