Young children aren’t always the ones who don’t appreciate the dangers that surround them and how to avoid them. However, as early as is reasonable, we do need to begin to help them know and respect danger, in order to keep them safe. Here’s a list of five measures to help you and your loved ones remain safe:
1. Teach your children how to make emergency calls in case of a serious emergency. Ensure that your children know the difference between someone who truly needs help and something that, although important to them, would not require a police or fire worker’s response. Post 911 and other emergency numbers in a visible location. If deemed appropriate, you may even want to practice them saying and/or pointing to 911.
2. Ensure that they know to avoid strangers, without making them afraid of every new person they meet. Teach your child what a stranger is, but avoid leading them to believe that all strangers are dangerous.
3. In case of a fire, ensure that they know how to get out of the house and where they should meet once they’re outside. Review your emergency exit plan with your children on a regular basis. Teach them about and show them examples of safe places, in the event they would need one. A safe place is any place that has multiple people inside. A library, YMCA, or grocery store are a few examples.
4. Teach them what a stranger is. Giving them a private family code word that will be used if they are ever to be picked up by someone they are unfamiliar. Be sure they know that they should never get in an unfamiliar vehicle. And, even if it is or seems innocent, if the person doesn’t know the code word, you may want to discourage them from entering the vehicle.
5. Keep a recent picture of your child with you, keeping information such as their height, weight, eye color, and any birthmarks up to date. This information will prove invaluable should they ever go missing.
No one ever thinks they’ll need to rely on these measures. Yet, so many do. Remember, safety is always about precaution and prevention. When your child joins your safety conscious efforts, the risks are dramatically decreased.
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