When it comes to keeping kids happy, safe and healthy, parents do all they can. From applying sunscreen, to purchasing car seats, to making the backyard kid-friendly there are a million small ways Mom and Dad protect their kids and show them they care. But, at what age should parents start to educate their children on the basics of home-safety? The answer is, any age.
Approximately 9.2 million children visit the emergency room each year due to accidental injury. Many of these instances occur in the home and are preventable with age appropriate education. While the decision about what age to inform your children about safe home practices varies from family to family, staring education earlier can help prepare kids to make their own safe choices from a young age. So, to encourage more families to get started teaching basic home safety lessons here are the four most important topics to cover and some resources to get you started!
In case of a fire at school or at home, your child should know how to keep themselves and others safe. Show them what to do in the event of a fire, like how to exit the building quickly, how to check for fire behind closed doors with the back of their hand, how to crawl low to the ground to avoid smoke, and how to stop drop & roll. When talking about fire safety at your home, the most important lesson you can teach them is how to prevent fires from starting. In addition make sure to create a detailed escape plan and designate a meetup spot in case of an emergency.
While your child might assume they are always safe when you’re driving, car safety is a very important lesson to learn. No matter the age of your child, remind them to wear their seatbelt every time they’re in a car and to buckle up immediately. If your child requires a car seat explain to them why they need one and show older children safe seat belt basics! Car safety training should never just be about travelling in a motor vehicle, remember to teach your children to be cautious while in and around cars.
Stranger Danger on and offline
Protect your children from potentially dangerous strangers by teaching your kids about stranger danger in everyday life. Help them identify who strangers are (anyone they do not know), give examples of “safe” strangers such as teachers or policemen who can help them, and show them what to do in the event a stranger attempts to talk to them. Avoid strangers in your area by getting to know those in your neighborhood using unique online resources like a people search engine with property records. Additionally, make sure your child is prepared for strangers in the digital world by reminding them to never give out contact information and to always tell you if they feel uncomfortable.
Before you show your kids how to call for help, make sure they understand when it is and isn’t appropriate to dial 911. Once they understand, show them which buttons to press to not only dial the number, but to make sure the phone goes through. Teach your kids to listen to what the operator says, speak clearly and slowly, to get away from emergency situations if necessary, and to wait patiently for emergency personnel to arrive.