From stranger danger to who to call for help, these are the 7 critical safety rules EVERY child absolutely needs to know!
In a world that has more than its share of child predators, murderers, and bad people in general, you may wonder how to keep your child safe. New parents and even veteran parents try their best to instill basic rules for their children to keep them safe from what can happen in the world. We feel the following rules are the most critical for every child to know, because let’s face it, you won’t be able to be there with them 24 hours a day, and though we may worry every time they’re not within our visual range, being sure that they know these rules will help keep them safe and feeling safe wherever they go.
Critical Safety Rules Your Child Needs to Know
1- Stranger Danger
We’ve heard about stranger danger all of our lives, and had it burned into our minds ever since kindergarten. The same holds true today, but be a responsible parent and make sure they understand that not everyone they do not know is a bad person. Teach them the warning signs of bad vs good. With billions of people in the world, only a small percentage of them are predators. Chances are the most people in the world will not even consider harming a child, so it’s not right to tell them to NEVER speak to a stranger, EVER.
As adults we need to explain to them the warning signs of potential predators and teach them to recognize such signs. The person at the park asking you to help them find their lost puppy is probably not a good person. The guy in the white van handing out candy, is probably not a good guy. The person pushing a stroller and playing with his toddler, is probably a dad on a walk with his son or daughter. The little fragile lady at the grocery store that smiles and says hi is probably not a bad person, just friendly. These are the type of things we need our kids to understand. Help them to recognize that not all people are bad in the world, and will help at the drop of a dime.
2- No Still Means NO!
Someone wants to hug your child. Maybe they know the hugger, maybe not. They do know one thing, though: they don’t want to be hugged. Allow your child to decide if they want to hug this person, and if they say no, so be it. Never force them to do something they do not want to do. If he or she doesn’t want to hug auntie or uncle, don’t make them, allow them to say no. By allowing our children to say no in awkward situations, or situations where they feel unsafe, will help them to understand the meaning of no. It will also help them understand that saying no is not a bad thing. Everyone should be allowed to say no, and it should be respected by others, children and adults alike.
3- Who To Ask For Help
Policemen, firemen, mailmen, authority figures, or another adult person near by, these are all people that your child should be able to look to for help. Explain to your child who they should look to for help, if you aren’t nearby. If you son or daughter becomes separated from you in the park, while you’re at one end of the park panicking, be sure to let them know that another adult there at the park should be able to help them. Or a guard that might be patrolling at the time, teach your children to recognize these type of people. Again, not all strangers are bad. Be sure they know never to approach a car to ask for help, it should be avoided. There are always other alternatives.
4- Body Safety
This goes hand in hand with still being able to say no. Your child’s body, is their body and they should be allowed to be in charge of it. Teaching them that unwelcome hugs, kisses, touches, are not an action they should allow if they don’t want to. By teaching our children about their bodies being theirs and theirs alone, it can help them understand how it feels when someone touches them inappropriately. Helping them to understand that the feeling of discomfort when being touched is a sign they should acknowledge, and say no to. Explaining these things to your child will help them open up to you should something inexplicable happen that they are uncomfortable with. Be sure to listen to them, and never jump to conclusions.
5- Street and Car Safety
The first thing we need to teach our children about street safety is to look both ways before crossing. This is another lesson we learn at a very young age, and keep with us forever. A child crossing a street without looking is no match for a 2 ton steel object on wheels moving at high or even low speeds. Looking both ways before crossing the street can be a life savor, and looking twice even more so. This rule should be burned into our child’s brain over and over again. Also teaching them not to run ahead of you should you be out with them, is a big rule to follow as well as holding hands and not pulling away. Many children live in the suburbs, so teaching them to stop before a driveway to make sure no one is backing out or driving in is a good rule to follow too.
One thing that parents may not consider right away are seat belts. Teaching your children how to unbuckle their seat belt for emergencies is a rule that should be discussed. For instance, if a child is left in a hot car, seat belted, and the windows rolled up, they should know how to unbuckle their seat belts and honk the horn continuously until someone hears them. While there are laws that protect our children from being locked in hot cars, it can still happen, so teaching them what actions to take if it happens can help tremendously.
6- Parents and Family Names
Be sure to teach your children your names and other family members names in the house. Because let’s face it, if they get lost and someone asks their parents names, your child saying ‘mommy or daddy’ isn’t going to be much help. Teach them your full names, over and over until they can remember them. Older siblings names can be helpful too. Even and Aunt or Uncle if any live near by can be helpful. Teaching them important names might seem tedious, but it can be a major advantage in keeping them safe.
7- Good Vs Bad Behavior
Teaching our children to recognize bad behavior and relationships, maybe not seem as important as some of the rules, but believe it or not, it truly is. This also includes teaching the that biting, punching, name calling, pushing, smacking, etc. is bad behavior and should never be practiced by anyone! What we’re talking about here is them being able to recognize bad behavior and relationships. It may seem odd to talk to younger children about this type of behavior, but it will help them to learn the differences and know that when they encounter anything similar, they should never be afraid to report it to someone. Teaching our children the differences between what is considered a good relationship vs a bad relationship can also help prepare them for when they grow up, and they will be able to recognize the difference.
Teaching our children these critical rules can help to keep them safe as they grow into adults. While we can’t always be there for them, these rules will help them along in life.
Do you have any other critical safety rules you believe our children should learn? Let us know in the comments below.