Child Safety Tips

Children are precious and should be treated and protected as such. It's not enough for us as adults to know and understand the dangers that lurk around us, and our children. We need to make sure that our children know what to do in dangerous situations. Here are some safety tips for your children. When reviewing safety tips with your children, it’s important to do it in a way that is non-threatening. You want your children to be aware of danger signs but you don’t want them living in fear. Instead, encourage your child to trust his/her ‘gut instinct’ and always make sure that your communication lines are open. You want your children to feel ‘safe’ in sharing their fears with you at all times. When and if your child does disclose something to you, make sure you really listen, not only to what they’re saying but how they say it, and watch for language. Make sure your child understands that their body is not to be touched in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable, and that they can always come to you if they are unsure of anything, even if family members are involved.

Answering the front door

For those children who spend some time at home alone, answering the front door can be extremely important. When alone, a child should never answer the door. Even if it’s a friend or relative of the family – if that person has arrived unexpectedly, it’s better for the child to not let them in. Statistics show that abductors of children are usually someone the child already knows. Children also need to be taught that even though the parent is home, it’s still important for the child to get the parent before answering the door.

Answering the Telephone

When children are alone at home and they answer the phone, they are never to state that they are home alone. Teach your child to say that the parent is unavailable, to take a message, and then hang up. If the child receives any prank or obscene phone calls, he or she should tell the parent. Children should also be taught to never give out any personal information, no matter who is calling. That should be left to the parent to decide on.

Around the home

When cooking, make sure you always turn your pot handles in so that they are not hanging over the side of the stove. Children can be badly burned if they grab hold of the handle and pull it down, or if they knock it off by accident. Never leave a cup of hot coffee or tea on a counter where a child can reach. Never leave knives or other sharp objects where a child can reach them. Never leave cupboard doors or drawers open as fingers can get caught or shut in them.

Take a few minutes to walk through your home and look around for possible dangers that your children may be exposed to. It’s good to do this at least once a month.

Teach your children how to dial 911

Children are more capable than we sometimes give them credit for. This is especially true when we take the time to teach our children what to do in different circumstances. It’s important for you to teach your children what to do when and if an emergency should arise. First things first, teach them how to call 911. Take a few minutes to explain the importance of calling 911. Go over what a 911 operator will ask, such as, what, where, why, when, and how. You can even pretend to make a few calls to help them feel more comfortable with this.

If your child gets lost

It’s always good to know where your child is but sometimes that can be out of our control. We need to prepare our children for whatever may come up. Make sure that your child always has money for a phone call. I know that many children today now have cellular phones in cases of emergency. Make sure that they know that they can call 911 if they get lost and have no other means of getting safe help. Encourage them to always go with a ‘buddy’ – there is safety in numbers. Explain to your children the importance of always telling you where they are going and for how long they will be gone.

If your child gets separated from you in a mall or store, teach your child to go to the help or information desk, or approach a security officer to get help in finding you again. Make sure that your child knows his full name, phone number and address.

The Code

Many families are now developing a code word that is known only by them and close friends. This code is used in instances where a child is approached by a family member, or someone else, telling the child to come with them to see their parent or other family member. If that person does not know the code, the child is not to go with them no matter what.

Strangers

Strangers can be confusing for children, especially when a stranger talks to a parent of a child. When it comes to strangers, we can never be too careful. There are certain rules to follow that will help keep our children safe. Basically, the only time a child should talk to a stranger is when he or she is in trouble and needs help. Children should only seek out a stranger’s help when they are lost or hurt, or are trying to get away from someone who is hurting them. We need to make sure our children understand the importance of this. Lastly, make sure your child realizes that strangers look like everyone else – they don’t look like a wild monster or strange creature – meaning your child will not be able to judge a nice stranger from a stranger bent on harming them.

Never label your child’s clothing, knapsack/bag, or anything else as a stranger could use the information to help gain the child’s trust.

Being a prepared parent

As a parent, there are ways that you can be even more prepared should disaster strike. Read up on what to do in emergency circumstances, such as choking, burns, falls, poisons, etc. This information is easily attainable and can only make you better prepared should anything happen. Also, always have a list of emergency numbers close to your phone.