From providing basic essentials and transportation to offering socialization and educational opportunities, parents are shouldered with a tremendous amount of responsibilities. One of the most important and fundamental of these responsibilities is in teaching your child general safety rules. Almost every facet of their lives as children, adolescents, and future adults will center around the base of safety knowledge you provide as their parent. It’s a lot to cover, though, right? Try using these five general safety rules as a road map to help you develop a comprehensive safety plan for your child.
General Safety Rules Every Child Should Know
1. Have A Family Emergency Plan
Every family should have an emergency plan on what to do if there’s a national, local, or even family disaster. Your child should know when to shelter in place and wait for help and when and where to evacuate if needed. Ensure you teach younger children contact information as soon as possible. At a minimum, the emergency plan should include:
- What to do for various scenarios- fire, flood, tornado, etc.
- A primary meeting place that’s centrally located and a secondary meeting place that’s out of the central area.
- A trusted emergency contact not living in the home, and every phone should have all the contact’s information identifiable and easily accessible.
Don’t forget to periodically practice the emergency plan and evacuation routes with your child. If you have a family locator app from GPSWOX, be sure to alert your children to keep their cellphones with them at all times so they can be easily located in case of a disaster or emergency.
2. Online Roadways Are Just As Dangerous As Tangible Roadways
Most parents teach their kids to stop and look both ways before crossing a road from a very young age. What’s often overlooked are online safety rules for younger kids. As kids are accessing and even possessing phones at a younger and younger age, online safety isn’t just a teen issue today. The recent hidden suicide messages found by parents in YouTube Kids videos is case and point that parental controls don’t catch everything. Here are some tips to consider for your online safety rules:
- Discuss cyber bullying and child predators and have rules for what to do if either are encountered.
- Make sure your child knows to immediately tell you if they see anything online that makes them uncomfortable in any way.
- Screen content as often as possible for younger children.
- Friend your child on any social media platform they use and know their passwords.
- Enact a zero-tolerance rule for sharing personal information and inappropriate photos online.
- Limit screen times.
- Set up computers in central locations verses the privacy of bedrooms.
3. Rules Concerning Local Dangers
There are many geo-specific and environmental dangers that you should develop specific safety rules to cover. If you live near water, for example, teach your child to swim, to respect that water is equally beautiful and fun as it is dangerous, and have rules for when and how they can access nearby water features.
Forest fires may be a local risk that requires extra fire safety rules and knowledge. Local wildlife, hypothermia or dehydration from local seasonal weather, public transportation, and such are some more examples of concerns that need general safety rules.
4. Secrets Between Parent And Child Are Never Okay
A good general safety rule is to never have secrets, and this will be a rule that forms a safety net for many of your other rules. Cover all the bases of why someone might want them to keep a secret from you, such as inappropriate touching, dangerous activities, cheating, illegal activities, and so forth. Offer them assurances within the rule that they should never be afraid to share anything with you.
Encourage your child to learn how to trust their judgment and intuition so that they can walk away and tell you if something seems even a little wrong, which will make following other safety rules so much easier.
5. Lessen Dangers By Following Proactive Safety Precautions
Does your child participate in a sport, extracurricular activity, or just play activity that they need to respect the risk of harm in doing? Keep in mind that safety precautions for such activities aren’t just about physical injury during play. A good example is eating disorders being such a commonly occurring problem for gymnasts and dancers trying to maintain a certain weight. Be sure to set up safety rules that come before all play, including:
- Safety equipment
- Reporting injuries
- Following rules and coaching instructions
- Proper nutrition and regularly eating a balanced diet
In conclusion, these five general safety rules will help you fulfill one of your greatest duties as a parent. Use these five as a basis to develop a comprehensive safety plan tailored to your child and his/her environment.