The safety of a child is the primary concern of any parent. As children are very innocent and vulnerable, they are prone to danger from the environment and society around them. Therefore it is essential to educate children about the importance of safety.
When children are toddlers, parents or elders are always around them, watching their every step. But this is not practical when the child grows. There will come a time when you will have to let go of your children as they will need to go outdoors to play, to school and other places. Even as it is a joy to see your children grow and become independent, there is always a concern for their safety. While this is a cause for concern, there is no need to worry as this can be addressed by teaching your children some basic safety measures. This will give your children the confidence to be able to care for themselves in your absence.
Some of the important safety measures to teach children are as follows:
Safety at home
Although home is considered as the safest abode for children, it is very important to equip your children with some safety measures as it is impossible to keep a constant eye on them. Here are some of the essential safety rules that can be implemented at home.
Stay away from fire and sharp objects: Most of the kids are scared of fire but there may be some whose curiosity may get the better of them. It is important to strictly warn kids to stay away from the stove, lighters and match boxes. It would help to explain to the kids about the dangers of a fire accident. It is also important to warn kids not to play with sharp objects like knives and scissors as they may accidentally harm themselves and others.
Stay away from forbidden zones: Children are fascinated with climbing onto everything and anything possible in the house. Though it is a good display of their motor skills it can get very dangerous at times. Climbing on furniture and tables should be strictly forbidden. In houses which have balconies, children should be warned not to go anywhere near the parapet wall. Some children may try to lean over the parapet wall in an attempt to look over and this may lead to a fatal accident.
Don’t open the door to the door to strangers: This is one of the most crucial rules that have to be stressed upon children. With the increase of incidents of thieves breaking into houses posing as salesmen, children have to be strictly warned against opening the door to unfamiliar faces. You can also be extra cautious and instruct your children not to open the door to neighbours, the watchman, driver and others if they are alone for they can take advantage of the children seeing that they are alone. It is always better to be careful than to be sorry.
Be aware of the emergency contact list” It is very important for every family to have an emergency contact list which children can access in times of an emergency. The emergency contact list should contain the contact details of close family members or friends, preferably those who live in the proximity of your house. The list should also contain the contact details of the police station, fire station, ambulance service, family doctor and a local hospital. This list should be kept in a place where it is easily accessible or visible to children.
Safety at School
However protective we may be of our children we need to let go of them as they step out into the world. It is important to familiarise your children with some basic safety rules before they go to school all by themselves.
Memorise important contact information: Parents need to help their children memorise important information such as their name, mother’s name, father’s name, their phone numbers and their house address. This information may come in handy in case of emergencies where the child may be asked to share personal details. It is also important to get the child familiar with the surroundings of their school. Take the child around so that they may be familiar with landmarks around them.
Never talk to strangers or eat anything given by them: Children need to be strictly warned against talking to strangers, however friendly and harmless they may seem. They should be told to gently avoid them and walk away. It is also important to teach children, especially the little ones, to not consume anything given by strangers. They should understand that however attractive and tempting the food may seem, accepting food from strangers is a big No-No. It would also help to explain to them the dangers of being poisoned and kidnapped by strangers.
Create a secret code: This is a very smart safety measure that has to be implemented by parents. Create a secret code which is between you and your child. There are incidents were strangers kidnap kids from school saying that they were sent by their mother to pick them up. In such cases, the secret code comes in very handy as it can be used to determine if the stranger was really sent by his mother or not.
Never let anybody touch your body: The world has become a very unsafe place for children. Their innocence is being exploited even in places where they are supposed to feel secure such as school, day care centres and home. So it is very important to teach your child the importance of not letting anyone touch their body. Explain to them that only a few trusted people like their month, father or grandparents can touch them and that no one else is allowed to touch them however close they may be. It is also important to teach your children the difference between a good touch and a bad touch. They should also be told that if feel uncomfortable they should cry out for help as loud as they can, and get the help of those around them.
Never follow anyone to a secluded area: Make your children understand that is unsafe for them to follow anybody alone to any secluded area in the school. Give them the courage to be bold and say no even if the principal, teacher, other school staff or students ask them to accompany them alone.
Safety at the park/common areas
Outdoor play is very essential for children as it helps them to learn, explore and make friends. Children are meant to play and fun with freedom. At the same time it is very important to make them follow some safety measures when they play.
Set boundaries: When playing outdoors or in a park, it is very important to set boundaries for children beyond which they should not go. Children may get excited and run around and it is difficult to keep an eye on them all the time so set boundaries. This will help your children play safely. Also make it clear that they should not wander away with any stranger. If they want to explore any new area they should always take a family elder along.
When lost, stay-put: As children get engrossed in their play, they may lose track of their surroundings. They should be taught not to panic but stay where ever they are as mummy and daddy will come searching for them. Also, teach them to get help from other parents they know or the police or the security.
Don’t climb fences or high walls: Strictly instruct your children not to climb any fence or wall as they may fall and injure themselves.
Safety during travel:
As children may travel alone to school or to a picnic it is essential teach they some primary safety measures to ensure taken while travelling.
Wear your seat belt: For children travelling by car, it is necessary to emphasise the importance of wearing the seat belt. Road accidents are becoming common due to reckless driving and jay walking pedestrians who fail to follow traffic rules. Wearing the seat belt can protect your children from any danger.
Cross the road carefully: As children grow up and become independent it is very important to teach them to cross the road safely. Teach them to look both ways, first to the right, then left and again to the right before attempting to cross the road. The best way to teach them would be to practice crossing the road with them till they are confident. It is also important to teach the children the significance of the traffic lights and signs. Explain what each colour means and sent examples. Practice what you teach.
Don’t run on the streets: Teach your kids not to run on the streets as it can be very fatal if they fall in front of moving vehicles. They should be instructed to walk on the footpaths whenever possible. In case of no footpaths they should be told to keep to one side of the road.Conclusion
While it’s natural for parents to be worried about their kids safety. However, laying down a few safety guidelines for your kids both inside and outside the house will go a long way in ensuring that your child stays safe and secure.
Good luck and happy parenting!