Manage Risk, Avoid Danger – A Sensible Approach to Child Safety

The Child Safety Education Coalition (CSEC) has a website dedicated to encouraging and supporting activities which contribute to a reduction in unintended injuries to children and young people. In order to achieve their aim the member organisations will work together to educate and protect children from real dangers whilst at the same time provide opportunities for them to develop a common sense approach to risk and confidence.

Children Must Not be Wrapped in Cotton Wool.

This is a welcome approach: The Health and Safety Executive has published a light hearted myth of the month item for a couple of years now, many of them centred round unfound policies relating to the safety of children. This coalition which is promoting a common sense approach to risk, where children are allowed to play conkers and throw snowballs but are protected from real dangers, like being scolded by a radiator should be encouraged.

Heating Appliances – Have you got them covered?

The Care Homes Regulations of 2001 (13) confers a duty of care on the registered person to ensure that –

  • (a) all parts of the care home to which service users have access are so far as reasonably practicable free from hazards to their safety;
  • (c) unnecessary risks to the health or safety of service users are identified and so far as possible eliminated. Statutory Instrument 2001 No. 3965, Crown Copyright 2001

The Royal Society for the prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) report that around 80 people a day are injured by hot pipes and radiators. As with many accidents, it is often the most vulnerable, the very young and the very old, who are most at risk; If you are the registered person or have responsibility for young people or old people in your care, taking the iniative to reduce these injuries by fitting radiator guards and covering hot pipes should be considered.

Make Fire Safety Education Fun For Kids

Fire is dangerous and scary, most kids know that. However, the topic of fire safety is something that they should never be afraid of. In fact, kids should be made to realise the importance of this subject matter in the prevention of fires, risks, injuries, and fatalities.

When teaching safety to children, parents, child care givers, and teachers should remember that they should not terrify the kids or else, it may be possible for them to be too nervous to do the right thing in case a fire does happen.

Making kids safety education fun and enjoyable can help greatly in instilling valuable lessons in children more effectively. This can also help to ensure that they do not become too scared of fires, enough for them to freeze during an actual emergency situation. Having the confidence and knowledge on fire safety can make it easier for them to do the right thing during a fire breakout.

Here are some things to do to make fire safety education amusing without diminishing its importance.

1. Take the children to a field trip

Kids love field trips. Not only do they always learn about so many things, they are also always enjoyable. To teach kids about fire safety, it would be a smart idea to bring them to a fire brigade department. Here, they will get to meet firefighters and get to look around the fire station. Firefighters can also teach them some valuable lessons about fire safety, and may even show them how the fire extinguisher, fire hose, or fire truck works. Do not forget to schedule an appointment in advance before dropping by.

2. Read children books about fire safety to children.

Another activity that kids love is story-telling. Ask the children to gather around and tell them a story about a house fire that occurred where children were able to escape safely by not panicking and by keeping safety tips in mind. Be sure to include lessons on fire prevention and emergency preparedness in your story, which are simple enough for the kids to understand and absorb.

3. Play games that pertain to fire safety.

Instead of simply showing them how to do the Stop, Drop, and Roll method, turn this into a game and have them do this alternately. The one who does this properly wins a game. Another important safety lesson you can turn into a game has something to do with the fire exit. Instead of just pointing to them where the fire exits are located, have them find these exits on their own (while guiding and supervising them closely) and the one who finds them first wins a prize. Just do not forget to teach them about the importance of these things so that they won’t only have fun, they will also learn something.

Of course, even though it is a good idea to teach safety lessons in a fun and enjoyable manner, it is still important to reiterate at all times that fire safety is a very serious matter that should never be taken as a joke.

Stranger Safety

Stranger safety is a term I’m sure you’ve heard before. As a parent, you know how important it is to protect your children. But what’s the best way to teach kids to be safe around strangers? Telling kids “Don’t talk to strangers” can be confusing to a child. Kids don’t inherently understand the word “stranger”. If you’re looking for an easy way to teach the children in your life stranger safety, I’m here to help!

I will give you simple steps to follow when discussing stranger safety with your kids. Don’t be afraid to have this conversation with your children. Many parents avoid the topic because they feel it will frighten their children. Just think about that for a minute. Wouldn’t you rather talk about stranger safety with your kids and prepare them? Arm your children with the knowledge they need to stay safe. There’s no better time than the present to have this talk with your kids. Get started today!

The Easy Way to Discuss Stranger Safety

Kids get confused when you simply say “Don’t talk to strangers”. Here’s a better way to explain it to your children. Let’s break out of the “stranger” term and give kids a better way to know who’s safe and who’s not safe. Below I will give you 3 terms you can introduce to your kids. For simplicity’s sake, there are only 3 types of people your child will ever encounter.

The 3 Types of People Your Child Will Encounter

Introduce the terms below to your kids. You will be amazed at how quickly they understand and feel comfortable with this type of stranger safety education. In the next section I will go into further detail about these groups of people and how to discuss this with your kids.

1. Safe Adults: You will choose THREE PEOPLE to be your child’s “safe adults”. A “safe adult” is someone your child can always trust to go with or talk to. I will go into more detail in the next section.

2. Don’t Know:A person your child has never met before.

3. Kinda Know: Someone your child has met before, or even someone they may know. “Kinda knows” are not “safe adults”. This could be someone like: a neighbor, a soccer coach or even a parent’s friend.

Safe Adults

This is one of the most important ground rules to set with your children. Sit down as a family and name 3 people who will be your child’s “Safe Adults”. In my family my husband and I are a given. We are “Safe Adults” to our children. They understand that. We also named my two parents (Grandma & Daddoo) and my husband’s mother (Oma) as our children’s safe side Adults. It’s up to you to decide who will be your children’s safe adults. Who do you trust 100% with your kids?

Basically, a “Safe Adult” is someone your child can ALWAYS trust to go with or talk to. If you’re ever unable to get your child from school, a sporting event, etc.. you would trust these people to get your child in your absence. If your kids have 3 “Safe Adults” then they will know it’s safe to go with these people. This is important because child predators often lie to children and manipulate them to leave with them. I will go into this more when I discuss “Don’t Knows” and “Kinda Knows”.

Don’t Knows

A “Don’t know” would fit into the “stranger” as we know it category. A “Don’t Know” is someone your child has never seen or met before. It’s important to explain to your child that you can’t tell if someone is nice or not just by looking at them. If your child has never met someone before that person is considered a “Don’t Know”. It’s always the safest thing for a child to get to their “Safe Adult” as quickly as possible if a “Don’t Know” tries to talk to them or get them to leave with them.

Explain these things to your children:

• NEVER talk to a “Don’t Know” if he/she isn’t with a “Safe Adult”

• It’s NEVER OKAY to leave with a “Don’t Know”.

• A “Don’t Know” should never ask a child for help. Some “Don’t Knows” may lie or try to trick children by offering them candy, gifts or by asking children for help. Tell your children if a “Don’t Know” is asking for help or offering them something, they should run and tell their “Safe Adult” right away.

• If a “Don’t Know” tries to grab your child or take them out of the store or area, your child should YELL: “HELP! THIS ISN’T MY MOM!” or “HELP! THIS ISN’T MY DAD!” Your child should fight to get away while yelling this over and over again. Then your child should run away and find a “Safe Adult” right away.

I have seen some kids get confused about stranger safety and refuse to talk to the grocery clerk at the checkout line when they have a “Safe Adult” by their side. You can explain to your children that they are safe when in the company of a “Safe Adult” and they can feel comfortable talking to other adults in the company of a “Safe Adult”.

Kinda Knows

A “Kinda Know” is someone your child has met before, but is not a “Safe Adult”. This is often where stranger safety education leaves a gaping hole. The scary thing about child abductions is that many times the crime is committed by someone the child has met before: a family friend, a parent’s co-worker, a sports coach, etc.. It’s important to discuss this aspect of stranger safety with your kids.

This is where your list comes in handy. Did you write down the 3 “Safe Adults” you chose for your kids? You certainly should! Explain to your kids that if someone is not on their “Safe Adult” list they are considered “Kinda Knows”. Even Aunts and Uncles, neighbors, coaches, etc.. would be considered “Kinda Knows”. It’s important that you talk about this regularly with your kids. I will also tell you about a fun, educational video you can have your children watch regularly to refresh their memory as well.

Quiz Your Kids

Once you have discussed the three categories of people with your kids and made your list of “Safe Adults” you can quiz your kids. As I mentioned my kids have grandparents as their 3 “Safe Adults”: Grandma, Daddoo and Oma. So, below are a couple sample questions I would ask my children.

1. If you were at the playground or outside school and your football coach came up and said “Your Mom’s in the hospital and told me to come pick you up, come on we should go check on her now”. Would it be okay to leave with him? What would you do?

– My kids should know it’s not okay to leave with their football coach. Even though they have met him before, he is still a “Kinda Know” and not a “Safe Adult”. We agreed that I would only send “Safe Adults” in my place if I can’t be there to get them for any reason.

– They should recognize that this is a trick. Just like “Don’t Knows” “Kinda Knows” may lie to get children to leave with them.

2. If we went to Wal-mart and you were looking at toys while Mommy was a few aisles over and a “Don’t Know” came up and offered to buy you the toy you were looking at. Is it okay to go with that person?

– My kids should know it’s not okay to go anywhere with a “Don’t Know”. No matter what the “Don’t Know” is offering them.

– They should immediately get away from the “Don’t Know” and find me. I will also give a couple other great tips about who a child can go to when confronted with a situation like this.

Other Great Tips
By now you and your kids should have a pretty good idea of how to handle different situations. But, what if your child gets lost in a store? Panic might set in if they can’t find you and are surrounded by a bunch of “Don’t Knows”. There are a few things you can explain to a child to help them if ever faced with a similar situation.

• If your child is lost in a store, they can go to someone who works there and ask for help. Most large stores have an overhead paging system. Make sure your child knows his/her full name and your full name. It’s also a good idea to teach kids your phone number and address.

• If your child is lost at an event or other area where they cannot find an employee, the safest thing to do is find a mother with children and ask them for help. Be sure your child understands that they should never leave the store or event with this mother. This person should just help them find an employee who can assist.

Conclusion

Teaching children about stranger safety is so important. Having these discussions with your kids may just save their lives one day. It’s a scary world we live in. Don’t be afraid to have these talks with your kids. Protect them by empowering them to keep themselves safe. We can’t be with our kids 24/7, sometimes they are without us.

If your kids know what to do when faced with a potentially dangerous situation they will come back to you safe and sound.

The best educational video I have found for educating kids about stranger safety is “The Safe Side”. This video was created by John Walsh (America’s Most Wanted) and Julie Clark (creator of Baby Einstein). It teaches kids stranger safety in a fun and engaging way. The video is not scary, it’s actually hilarious at times. The main character in the video is “Safe Side Super Chick”. You will fall in love with this zany character. My kids adore this video. They have probably watched it 25 times and beg to watch it again and again. I recommend having your kids watch this video at least once a month to refresh their memory.