IKEA says it is reviewing its security measures after an 11-year-old boy hid in one of its stores as part of a new ‘hiding’ craze.
Kaden Mirza, from Nether Edge, Sheffield, vanished on his way home from school on Tuesday before being found safe and well on Wednesday morning.
His father, Abid Mirza, explained that his son was actually hiding away in Ikea as part of a new ‘hiding’ craze.
As part of the craze, children are encouraged to take up a challenge of going missing for a set period of times.
His father and South Yorkshire Police have now issued warnings about the dangers of hiding away in warehouses and shopping departments.
Ikea has said that it will be looking at measures to prevent it from happening again.
An Ikea spokesperson said: ‘At Ikea, the safety and security of our customers is one of our highest priorities.
‘We appreciate that people want to create fun experiences with us, but we do not allow this kind of activity to take place in our stores.
‘We are constantly reviewing our security procedures to better prevent these incidents from happening.’
Mr Mirza said his son’s internet history revealed that he had been looking at websites detailing how to hide for 24 hours without being detected.
Det Insp Anna Sedgwick said that police are now working with schools and community groups to raise awareness of the challenge.
She said: ‘Too many young people this internet craze may seem like a bit of fun that is impressive on social media, however the risks and harm that could be caused are by no means humorous and could be catastrophic.
‘Warehouses and shopping departments contain large quantities of heavy stock and items that could easily fall and crush someone if they are moved incorrectly, or used to build makeshift forts.
‘There is also the potential risk of electrical faults and fires, which could have devastating consequences.
‘As well as the safety risk, children often do this without the knowledge of their parents, which could lead to large scale searches or even cause them to be reported as missing.
‘This not only causes fear and worry for parents, friends, family and the local community but can also be a waste of valuable police time, which may be needed to respond to a life or death situation.
‘I hope by highlighting the seriousness of the craze, young people will think twice before taking part.
‘As a parent myself, I’d like to appeal to fellow parents to reach out to their children and give a little guidance. A few words of advice could save your youngster’s life.’