Parent’s first job is to offer a safe, secure environment to their children. Children continuously explore their environment and surrounding to play and explore. This exploration helps them learn, develop and grow but can also land them into trouble.
Though most parents follow safety guidelines, it is not a far fetched scenario that parents cannot be with their children all the time. Even if you’re home, your kids might be playing outside or doing a risky experiment in their home science lab. And so, children must be taught generic safety guidelines.
Children benefit tremendously from learning safety rules. They gain confidence and are set on an attitude towards safety. Though some kids are always cautious, many seek the thrill from new adventures. Whichever bracket your kids may fall into, it is imperative to teach and recapitulate safety rules with them.
Safety Tips Every Child Must Know
1. Contact information: Every child must know his/her name, parent’s real names and phone numbers. This is their first step towards keeping themselves safe.
2. No one can Touch them: Body safety is another safety guideline which every child must be taught from an early age. Children must learn that no one is allowed to touch them at their private parts. For younger children, explain them that school maids can touch them for cleaning at potty time, not otherwise.
A very significant aspect of body safety is to educate children about uncomfortable touch. A bad touch need not be confined to specific areas. If any touch makes them feel uncomfortable, they should immediately stop it and seek help.
3. If they get Lost, they Stay where they are: Parents must rehearse this scenario with their children. Children should be taught to stay where they are and not start searching for their parents. They should stay at their place and call out their parent’s real names, not mommy or papa.
4. Road Safety: Young children should never cross roads without adults, even if that means crossing the block. They should stay away from roads, walk on the sidewalks and get down from cars only when they are parked or still. Also before hopping out of the car, they need to look to their left and right before opening the door. It is always advisable to get down from the door near the curb or sidewalk.
5. Water Safety: Children love water and it is hence foremost to teach them water safety rules. Water is dangerous and they should never get in a pool in absence of an adult. Children should understand that they cannot run by the swimming pools and should stay away from water tanks, water tubs, lakes and ponds. Also read Secondary and Dry Drowning
6. Fire Safety: A simple fire safety drill is something that every child should know. Teach them to Stop, Drop on the floor and Roll, in case their clothes catch fire. Always run outdoor, do not touch electric equipment, use stairs not lifts are some basic fire safety guidelines.
7. Animal Safety: Children love animals and specially dogs. Like everyone, they love to pet dogs. But dogs bite children a lot, especially during hot summer months. Teach children to stay clear of dogs and do not try patting a friend’s dog unless an adult (from the dog owner’s family) is present.
Teach them never to run or chase dogs. For other animals and creepy crawlies, a basic rule of ‘No Touching’ should be followed.
8. Stay away from dangerous things: Children should stay away from knives, matchsticks and never use them for play. Same stands true for electrical sockets. Teach them to stay away from room heaters, kitchen hob, hot plates and not try to plug electric equipment alone.
9. Never keep Secrets: Children should be taught from early age to never keep secrets from their parents. Any person, be it a cousin or a relative, should never ask them to keep a secret from their parents. Assure them, whatever they do, you will always be with/ for them. Build trust and comfort that they can always come to you no matter what they did.
10. Bruises/Cuts first aid: Children fall and get hurt all the time. So it is prudent for them to know how they should handle a bruise. Teach them to apply pressure on the wound to stop bleeding, should their sibling or friend gets hurt. Though it may seem odd, but young children are quite capable to stopping bleeding if taught properly.
11. Never go anywhere with a Stranger: That’s a foremost rule and one that most families must follow. Starting from age 2years, teach your child to never accompany a stranger, even if the stranger promises to take them to their parents. Tell your children that you will never ask a stranger to get them. It is OK to ask for a help from strangers but never OK to accompany them.
For older children, it is a good idea to keep a password. Explain children to ask for password if any stranger claims to bring a message from their parents and insists that they accompany him.
12. Trust their Instincts: Like everyone, children too have gut feelings. We should teach them to follow their instincts should they feel unsure about a particular situation. Letting them follow their instinct — even if it turns out to be wrong — is a critical part of raising them to be happy and successful. If they are not comfortable with a play idea that their friend suggested, they should simply opt out of it and go to a trusted adult.