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It’s our job as parents to keep our children out of harm’s way. When they’re young, they look to us to teach and protect them. As they grow older, they follow their intuitions as they venture out in the world. But how can we help our kids stay safe at home?
Below, we’ve listed ten things every child should do to remain safe at home. Review this list with your children to instill good habits that will stay with them for a lifetime.
1. Memorize Their Full Names, Addresses, and Phone Numbers
Preschool-aged children are capable of memorizing their full names, addresses, and phone numbers. Learning this information as early as possible will be helpful if they’re ever lost or need to call 911 in an emergency. Singing a song helps with memorization, and playing games while they learn this information makes it fun.
2. Call 911 Properly
During an emergency, dialing 911 is easy. But your children should know what to share with the dispatcher and understand that they should remain calm. Tell them when they’re speaking to the operator that they should share information about the emergency along with their address and phone number so you or someone else can get help quickly.
3. Know the Family Fire Escape Plan
According to the National Fire Protection Association, only one-third of Americans have created and practiced a home fire escape plan. Fire spreads quickly, so establish a solid fire plan and review it with your children so everyone understands how to quickly exit the house. Walk with your children room to room and point out the escape routes. Designate a meeting place for everyone to gather in the event of a fire, and tell your kids what to do once they get there.
4. Don’t Accept Things from Strangers
While the old teaching “Don’t take candy from strangers” still rings true today, educate your children to say, “No thank you,” to anything a stranger offers them. When your child turns down an item from someone they don’t know, it reduces unnecessary interaction with the person. Also explain that if they somehow do get something from a stranger, such as a treat from a classmate, they should give it to you immediately.
5. Explain That Their Bodies Belongs to Them
Review the difference between good touches and bad touches with your child. Explain that no one should touch them in the private areas of their bodies. Also tell them that some touches, like those in a doctor’s office where you are present, are okay. If someone does touch them inappropriately, they should shout for help and tell you immediately.
6. Don’t Leave Home Alone
Teach your children that they should never leave the house or yard alone. Tell your children that if they want to go somewhere, they need to tell you and you will go with them.
7. Don’t Answer the Door without a Parent
Occasionally, you’ll be home and won’t hear the doorbell ring. Your child will want to help and answer the door for you. Teach them that when someone’s at the door, they should tell you so you can open it with them. If they see a family member or friend out a window, tell them they’re allowed to wave and a visiting friend wouldn’t mind waiting until you come to the door.
8. Don’t Experiment with Fire
Teach your children about fire safety, how fires happen, and how dangerous they can be. In fact, according to your local security, fires are responsible for over 3,500 deaths each year. That’s why it’s important to explain to your children that fire is dangerous and they are not allowed to play or experiment with matches, lighters, or fire. Tell them if they see anyone in their home playing with these items, they should let you know instantly.
9. Tell Them to Trust Their instincts
Tell your child that no matter what someone asks them to do, if it makes them uncomfortable, they shouldn’t do it. If anyone makes them feel uneasy, let them know it’s okay to leave the situation. Remind your child you will always support them in these instances.
10. Don’t Share Personal Info Online
It’s never too early to teach kids about internet safety. Your children may already know to not share their names, addresses, or phone numbers online, but teach them to protect other personal information as well. Sharing their school names, current location, or clues to future locations, even if it’s a public place, can lead people directly to where they are, which could put them in a bad situation.
Read more about family safety on our site, and share these tips on social media after implementing them yourself. If you have other safety tips for children, please comment below.
Scott Bay a Digital Journalist that reports on the latest technology trends. He specializes in travel, design and the in-home Internet of Things. He also dabbles in furniture design and if he’s not working, he’s traveling. You can keep in touch with Scott on Instagram!