Safety Education For Kids at Home
One of the ways parents prepare for a new baby is making sure that their environment is as safe as possible. This often includes installing outlet covers, door latches, baby gates, and more. This instinct to keep our children safe lasts as long as parenting does. However, keeping children secure as they get older becomes more complicated than covering outlets and latching doors. Here are some practical and effective ways of providing safety education at home for your children as they grow.
Though your family home may seem like the safest place to be, kids have a way of seeking out or accidentally finding things that can harm them and/or their surroundings. That’s why traditional measures are an essential part of safety education at home.
Be sure to have thorough and frequent conversations with your child about safety in the home. This includes behaviors such as not using appliances without supervision, not answering the door or phone without permission, and not providing personal information. Traditional safety measures and education are a responsibility of all parents, and this should be reinforced as children grow and mature.
Bear in mind that it’s not enough for parents to just warn their children about what in the home might be hazardous. Certain things should be securely kept away from kids at all times. Here are some items that should never be accessible to children:
- Chemicals and/or cleaning products
- Matches and/or lighters
- Poisonous substances
Another aspect to consider of safety education at home is how parents model their own behavior in front of their children. Being conscious of and following your own rules is one of the most powerful ways of educating your kids about the importance of safety in the home.
Most experts agree that children can be taught to call 911 in an emergency at age 3 or 4. However, parents need to emphasize they should dial this number only when dangerous conditions are present.
Here are some circumstances to use as examples for appropriate 911 emergencies:
- In case of fire
- If someone is choking
- If someone has trouble breathing
- In case of severe car accident
- In case of criminal activity (break-in, mugging, etc.)
- If someone is unconscious or badly injured
Kids should understand that calling 911 is a serious decision and that there are consequences for dialing 911 without a good cause.
Independence and Safety
Parents often feel an instinct to do things for their children as a means of protecting them and keeping them safe. This can include anything from helping them cross a busy street to brushing their teeth. Of course, it’s essential to be aware of your child’s developmental abilities so that they aren’t overwhelmed or potentially harmed by a particular task. However, it’s also important to consider the relationship between your child’s age-appropriate independence and safety.
Having some independence allows children to develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and direct experiences with success and mistakes. Ultimately, this is the best way for them to learn many aspects of safety while they are young and in a fairly controlled environment.
It can be difficult for parents to allow their children to do certain things independently because of the time it takes, the potential mess it may create, or the idea that it won’t be done properly. However, the earlier that kids learn to do things independently, the more self-assured and capable they become.
In addition, parents can incorporate safety education along with teaching independent tasks. For example, parents can assign even young children the task of cleaning up their toys to avoid tripping hazards.
Today, safety in the virtual world is as important as the physical world. Unfortunately, parents can be lulled into a false sense of security when their children use digital media—especially if they have set up parental controls or if they assume their kids are only tuning in to family-friendly sites.
No matter how many restrictions you have placed on your devices, children are very adept, quick to learn, and eager to explore the internet. As a result, many kids are often innocently exposed to confusing, upsetting, and even disturbing material. Therefore, parents need to rely on direct communication and other safety strategies in addition to setting controls:
- Talk about the internet realistically: Some parents may be reluctant to share the less wholesome side of the internet, and certainly children shouldn’t be made to fear being online. However, preparing your child for the reality of the internet at an early age can enhance their long-term online safety. This includes explaining that people aren’t necessarily who they say they are online, and that the majority of content on the internet is not intended for children.
- Limit screen time: The less time your child spends on the internet and using digital media, the less likely they are to be exposed to something (or someone) unsafe. They are even better off if they see you modeling limited screen time as well.
- Immediately report something unusual: Encourage your child to immediately report to you if they notice something unusual when they are online. This might be a pop-up ad that looks inappropriate, a request for personal information, or anything else that makes them uncomfortable. In addition, if they have reported navigating to an unsanctioned site, be sure to show your appreciation that they told you rather than tried to hide it.
One of the best ways to help your child learn about independence and safely interacting with the world around them is to encourage open communication and provide diverse ways to observe their environment. At Cognisprings, we support parents looking for educational toys that inspire children to explore who they are, develop their relationships with others, and express themselves through imagination and critical thinking. That’s why we provide books, puzzles, games, and toys that are thoughtfully designed for creativity, stimulation, and curiosity.
In addition, Cognisprings prioritizes fun and educational activities that are screen-free, promote healthy cognitive development, and encourage personal growth and understanding through exposure to diverse ideas, subjects, and people. Family togetherness, such as playing games, is important for creating lasting memories and strong bonds, as well as allowing opportunities for communicating about safety education at home.