Boiling child safety down to 10 steadfast safety rules might seem impossible—and for parents, it is. But kids need to hear clear safety basics from Mom and Dad. These simple, easy-to-remember safety rules can help teach your children how to protect themselves when you’re not around.
1. Don’t talk to strangers
Kids can’t control who approaches them, but they should know not to engage in conversation (or activities) with someone they don’t know.
2. Yell and tell
If a stranger does approach your child and attempt to touch or follow him or her, your child should yell (“That’s not my dad!” “Stranger!” “Help!”) and tell someone they trust what happened. Some experts advise children in distress to look for a mom, rather than for a uniformed security officer, at a playground or store.
3. Be street safe
This rule can evolve as your child grows from tricycle to bicycle and, eventually, to teen driver. Make sure he or she knows the safest places to walk and ride, and the boundaries for his or her travels.
4. Memorize important contact information
Teaching your children important contact information can help them find you in case of an emergency. Make sure your child knows your address, phone number, full names of their guardians and a nearby landmark. Routinely review this information with younger children, as it is more difficult for them to remember things.
5. Don’t give out any personal information online
The internet is a large part of many children’s lives. The earlier you start preaching safe practices online, the better. Kids should never chat or engage with someone they don’t know and remember that even if they think they know someone, anyone could be communicating on the other end. Have a safety rule that any child with access to the internet should not give out personal information, including addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and the child’s school name and location.
6. Don’t play with matches, knives
For children, matches and lighters can seem like harmless, fascinating toys. Avoid buying novelty lighters that look like cars, toys or are decorated with images that might appeal to children such as cartoon character. Serious mistakes can also happen when hunting weapons are treated like toys. Teach children to respect these items.
7. Don’t eat anything given to you by a stranger (or that you can’t identify)
This helps kids avoid ingesting dangerous substances and poisons. It teaches them to ask parents before eating and establishes a conscious practice of identifying and naming safe foods.
8. You are the boss of your body
Applicable for children of any age, this child safety rule reinforces that they have control over themselves and should always be able to say no.
9. Don’t keep secrets from your parents
Kids might try to keep situations and behaviors they identify as wrong or embarrassing from their parents. This might not be presented best as a strict rule, but let your children know the lines of communication are always open.
10. Make a safety agreement
Children are active participants in their own safety. Maintain open communication and work together to make plans for safety, including whom they can accept rides from, what their curfews are and whom they can trust.
Promoting household safety
The above child safety rules can help protect your children while they’re out and about, but don’t forget about making your home a safe place. From kitchen to water safety, learn more about important safety practices every parent should implement in their home.