Discovery Point Blog
7 Basic Safety Rules for Children
As children grow and develop, they feel inclined to seek out new experiences and adventures. This form of play is important to their personal development, but it can also lead to new situations that may be dangerous.
It’s important to protect this right to play and discovery, which builds their confidence and makes them more capable and self-sufficient. However, it’s equally important to make certain they are equipped to deal with sticky situations.
As parents, it’s our responsibility to teach our children a set of safety rules they’ll know by heart. These rules will not only help keep them safe throughout their childhood, but can also provide an important foundation of knowledge to refer back to as they grow older.
Knowing your child understands exactly what to do in unusual circumstances can also give you that extra bit of peace of mind you need to remain calm when you can’t be by their side 24/7.
Below are some of the most crucial, universally applicable rules to teach your children from an early age.
1. Know your home address, phone numbers, and landmarks.
Have your child memorize your home address and phone number, as well as the phone number of a grandparent or close family friend. This will ensure that should they ever be separated from you, they will know how to contact you. It’s also a good idea to point out a landmark near your home your child won’t forget, such as the name of a park, church, or monument.
2. If you get lost, stay where you are.
Explain to your child that if they ever get lost, looking for you could actually make it harder to find them. Remind them to stay right where they are and never leave the area where they initially realized they were lost.
3. Do not walk into the road.
Young children should be taught to never, ever go near a road. Older children, depending on the traffic levels and layout of your neighborhood, should be taught to look both ways (left, right, and then left again) before crossing the road. Don’t forget to teach them to only get out of the car on the side next to the curb.
4. Do not go anywhere with a stranger.
Remind your child that if an emergency happens, you will only send someone you know to pick them up (if possible, agree upon a list of two or three people you would call on). Tell them even if a stranger says, “Your mom wants you to come with me,” they should absolutely not do it, no matter what their reasoning is. If this occurs, they should shout for help.
Should you have to send someone to pick them up when they are expecting you, consider establishing a secret code with your children so they know they are safe.Your children should know the code as should the person picking them up. That way they can be confident they are going with someone safe who you have sent for them..
5. No one can touch you.
Explain to your child no one can touch them in the areas their bathing suit covers. Be sure to approach this as a basic precaution, not as a scary subject. It’s important to avoid veiling this possibility with shame to ensure your child always feels comfortable telling you if something does happen.
6. If it makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t do it.
Children can be taught early on about what it means to trust their gut instincts. Let them know that if they feel uncomfortable doing something, they absolutely do not have to do it. For slightly older children, this may also be a good time to talk about peer pressure and the importance of standing up for yourself.
7. Don’t keep secrets from parents.
Emphasize to your child that your relationship is a secret-free zone. No matter who asks them to keep a secret, they should never feel they have to keep information from you. Provide assurance that you will always refrain from judgement or punishment when it comes to information they share with you.
Having conversations with children about safety can be tricky. It’s often hard to avoid projecting our own fears onto our children or scaring them away from wanting to take any risks at all.
While finding a balance can be a challenge, the most important thing is to make the safety conversation an ongoing, open discussion you can build upon throughout their growth and development.