There are several things I do to keep this from happening. The first one is if you are a place with grocery cart corrals park beside one and instantly put your DS in a cart before heading into the store.<br><br>
The second one is to announce the expectation in the car. Tell him he must hold your hand, and he is NOT to walk unassisted in the parking lot. Make sure that he is holding your hand from the moment your pull him from the car seat.<br><br>
Also at his age a gentle consequence (the natural one is deadly here) for running away would be appropriate. For example, I tell my DS that he's allowed to walk without holding hands. I let him know that if he doesn't do it he'll be riding in a stroller or in the grocery cart.<br><br>
Rarely has my DS taken a bolt for traffic. When it has happened I have gotten down at eye level and made sure he understood what I expected (walking beside me) and that running was unsafe. Dead animals on the road sometimes help illustrate that.<br><br>
I almost for got the running across the road bit. We lived near a busy four lane highway. If your DC is anything like mine going inside RUINS!!! his day. The rule if you go for the road you go inside. I don't play with this rule if I see him at the road he instantly goes inside. The first time I find him at the road he goes inside for 5 minutes. I repeat my expectation after he has calmed down ect and I tell he is allowed to play outside again as long as he stays in the road. The next time I find him on or near the road he goes inside for the rest of the day, until which time I decide he may be able to handle going outside without bolting for the road.<br><br>
Now what does this mean for me. If I have to do something outside it has to wait. At three I can leave my DS inside alone without much trouble if I need to be outside. When we first moved the first few times outside was just a chance for my DS to learn that I meant he wasn't going near the road. So we went inside A LOT!!! However it does work, it took me about two weeks of going inside nearly every time.<br><br>
My daughter went through this face. At home, we built a fence. Expensive and a lot of hard work, but it was important to me to have a place where she could play safely and freely. Away from home, she was harnessed (as in leashed.) Always.