McGruff the crime dog is still popular with children of all ages. According to the National Crime Prevention Association, all children must learn basic safety lessons. While none of us want to think of our children as falling victims to crime, it does happen. Here are 10 lessons every child should have:
1.Statistics and Information
As soon as your child is old enough to talk, they should be taught their full name. They should also memorize their address, including the city and state, and the phone number of you or your spouse, including the area code.
Teaching your child to punch 911 on the phone isn’t enough. You need to teach your child when to use the emergency phone number. Children should be taught to dial 911 on a variety of phone types so that they don’t become confused if their normal phone isn’t within reach.
Teach your child who is safe. Police officers, security guards, firemen and teachers are all safe people. Relatives, friends of the family and school staff are all also people to be considered safe. Teach your child to run to one of these people if they feel threatened or scared.
Come up with a code word for your children’s use. If you send someone to pick up your child, or even just talk to your child, that person should be able to use the code word, letting your child know that they are safe.
Your child should understand the power of “no” and that the word is okay to use. No one has a right to touch your child and empowering your little one with the power of no can keep them out of uncomfortable situations.
When your children are old enough for a bit of independence, teach them to always walk with a buddy. Children should be in groups in order to remain safe. Teach your child to avoid alleys, vacant buildings and empty lots.
7.Map Out Routes
If your kids walk to the bus, friends’ homes or school, walk together the first time and map out a safe route. Make sure that your child understands that straying from this route is not permitted. If your child doesn’t make it to their destination, or back home, you will know where to look.
Teach your kids to check in when they get home from school. Have them contact you before they leave a friend’s house, especially if they are walking. If plans change, your children should know to contact you. While your children may be reluctant at first, they’ll quickly come to accept the checking in rule if it doesn’t lead to a lecture or an hour’s long conversation.
Make sure that your children understand the difference between tattling and alerting. For example, if your child sees someone with a gun, knife, drugs or other weapon, alerting a safe adult is the right thing to do.
One of the easiest ways to keep your kids safe is simply to talk to them. Listen to fears and concerns, never shaming your child or punishing them for what they tell you. If you hope to be able to keep your children safe, you’ve got to keep the lines of communication open.
Keeping kids safe is difficult to do from a distance. If you teach your children basic safety lessons, you’ll have less to worry about when they are away from you.
Morton Jarvis is a writer and blogger. If you want more ideas for keeping your kids safe at home, look into Safe Sound Security Family Alarms.