Every parent wants his child to be safe. When babies are young, you can childproof your home, lower your water temperature thermostat and take other measures to ensure your baby’s safety. During the first years, keeping your child safe is relatively easy since your baby spends most of his time with you or in the care of another trusted adult in a child-friendly environment. As children get older, become more mobile and develop their independence, however, your proactive measures of ensuring your child’s safety should include teaching him practical ways that he can keep himself safe.
Develop your safety rules. These may include holding hands while in the parking lot, only going with someone who knows your secret family code word if approached and told there’s an emergency and running for help should a suspicious or dangerous situation arise.
Talk to your kids. Once you have developed your family’s basic safety rules, hold a family meeting to talk about them. Share the rules in a relaxed setting and tone to reduce the chance of frightening your child.
Read books that reinforce the rules. Your local library should have an assortment of books about child safety. “The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers” by Stan and Jan Berenstain and “What Would You Do?: A Kid’s Guide to Tricky and Sticky Situations” by Linda Schwartz and Sherri M. Butterfield are books designed to help teach kids about safety.
Engage in role-playing. To role-play, talk about a potential situation with your child and then act it out. For example, if you wanted to teach your child what to do if she’s approached by someone she doesn’t know, pretend to be a stranger and approach her. See how she reacts. If she forgets the rules, prompt her to help her act out the appropriate response.
- Failure to discuss safety topics with your child could result in him being unprepared should an emergency or the need to protect himself arise.