Teaching your child safety skills at a young age may sound like a serious thing to do. However, child safety is a serious business. You only need to read a newspaper or watch the news to discover stories that make you feel like you never want to let them out your sight again. However, we all know this is not a realistic option. So what can you do? After all, talking to your children about the dangers in the world could scare them and teaching your youngsters safety skills might remove their innocence. However if you manage to strike the right balance, you can instil knowledge and confidence in them that will stand in good stead throughout their childhood which in turn can help to avail your own fears by keeping your children out of danger.
There are some basic steps you can take to help your children grow up fearless and confident enough to venture outside of their garden. The first may seem extremely obvious, make sure they know their full name, address and phone number. If your children are very young, teach them to use the phone and ensure they know how to dial 999. Also, keep a list of telephone numbers of friends and family by the phone, which they can call in an emergency. When children are at home alone, even for the shortest period of time, tell them not to answer the door and if the phone rings remind them not to reveal where they live or that they are home alone.
Your children should always have your mobile phone number with them at all times so if they get lost when out shopping with the family, they can go to the nearest shop assistant and ask them to call you. If your children are of the age to go out on their own you can’t help but worry about them every time they leave the house but they all get to an age where they start to seek their independence. The usual guidance of not getting into a stranger’s car is still good advice but also let your children know it’s OK to shout, scream, be rude to grow-ups and run to safety if they find themselves in an intimidating situation. Some children will keep themselves in what could develop into a threatening position through sheer politeness. So make sure they understand that sometimes it’s OK to be impolite.
Codes words can be very useful when keeping your children safe. Schools often use them to ensure children are being picked up by the right people but don’t forget having a code word for your children can really help if they are playing at a friend’s house. If an emergency arises and you need to get someone else to pick your child up and don’t have time to call them or the mother of their friend, as long as both know the code word then they will know the person has arrived under your instruction.
Ensuring your children never walk, travel or play outside alone is common sense advice. If they are without adult supervision, make sure they know they should have a friend or more with them. The phrase ‘safety in numbers’, should be impressed upon them.
Another useful tip is to consider purchasing a kids GPS tracker. They come in many guises from a bracelet to a device that can be clipped onto a bag or item of clothing. The beauty of these devices is that you can track them via an app on your mobile phone so whilst you are at work you can see where they are. They can hold a list of contacts and come with many functions including an SOS feature that will send an alert to all their contacts should they need help. You can also set safety zones so that you receive alerts when they move in and out of that zone. You could set it so you get an alert when they reach their friends house and an alert when they arrive home. If they are old enough to use a mobile phone then you don’t need to purchase a device providing you download the same app on both phones.
When it comes to child safety, parenting can be a tough business but remember that most of this advice is common sense and setting these examples in place at an early age will ensure your children grow up safety savvy rather than becoming fearful of the dangers that lurk outside their home.