Ensure Child Safety – at Home, on the Road & at School
Ensure your child's safety at home, on the road, and at school by teaching them who and what can cause them harm. This article covers the different types of dangers your child may face, such as stranger danger, drugs, alcohol, fires, and car accidents. Learn how to ensure your kid's safety everywhere and at all ages with our free guide below. Scroll down for free resources from American Red Cross, Prevention Network, and more.
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UPDATED: Feb 19, 2021
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Children in today’s world are faced with potential danger in nearly every area of their lives. These dangers aren’t just threats that happen at school, they are also inside of the home. With younger children it is important that the people who care for them provide them with the safest environment possible, and prepare them for outside influences that could cause them harm. As older children, teens should also be prepared for certain dangers, such as those that come with driving a car. To ensure the safety of all children it is important for everyone to understand what can cause them harm and how they can stay safe.
The phrase stranger danger is often associated with young children and is meant to help them be careful around people that they don’t know. Teaching a child that strangers can intend them harm, will help them to avoid contact with unknown people who may try to lure them away from their families. A child who has been taught this phrase will associate the stranger as being a source of danger and will not speak to or follow them. The child should also be taught what to do if approached by someone he or she doesn’t know. Depending on the situation, the child should be told to find an adult that they know, or to run away and even scream if necessary.
Stranger danger also applies to older children as well. For teens, stranger danger is a reminder to use caution when dealing with unknown people, particularly online. Because the Internet allows people to be anonymous, many predators seek out children on chat groups. They may pretend to be teens themselves or they might just try to become a friend. These types of strangers are dangerous because they may stalk or attempt to privately meet, steal, or abuse the kids they chat with. Stranger danger for older children is a reminder that even people met over the Internet are strangers and possibly dangerous.
- SafetyCops.com – Stranger Danger
- Stranger Danger for Teens
- Stranger Danger: Toddlers & Teens
- Cyber-Safe Kids Cyber-Savvy Teens: Stranger Danger Red Flags
- People Smarts (Stranger Danger)
Drugs are a problem for children of all ages. Safety against drugs begins with education. Kids that understand the risks associated with taking drugs are more likely to make the decision not to take them. Parents play a vital role in teaching children about drugs, and should begin talking to them early about why they are dangerous. Helping children know what to say when they are offered drugs will also make saying no easier. Illegal, or street, drugs, like cocaine or marijuana, are only half of the problem however. Over-the-counter, non-prescription medications, like cough medicine and medications given to family members by a doctor, are not always thought of as being dangerous and some children may think that they are okay to use. But, these types of drugs can be as dangerous as any street drugs and they can cause health problems if they’re misused. Keeping all medication in a location that children do not have access to is also a part of ensuring the safety of children.
- What if Someone Offers me alcohol or Drug
- Medication Safety for Children
- Safe Storage, Safe Dosing, Safe Kids
- Help Children and Teens Stay Drug-Free
- Keeping Your Kids Drug-Free
Just like with drugs, the best way to keep children safe from using alcohol is for their parents to start teaching them about its dangers as early as possible. This is important because by the age of 11, many children will have already tried alcohol. The example set by adults also plays a part in a child’s decision to drink. When there is excessive use of alcohol in the home and around them, children may choose to follow in the footsteps of the adults and other important figures in their lives. Other ways to ensure that kids are safe from the influences of alcohol is to make sure that is not easily available in the home, and to encourage activities that build up confidence and self-esteem.
- A Series of Life Lines to Help Keep Kids Safe from Alcohol
- Keeping Children Safe From Alcohol and Drugs in the Home
- Talking With Kids About Drugs and Alcohol
- Preventing Alcohol Abuse Among Teens Helping Children and Youth Just Say No
- The Cool Spot
Fire safety means teaching children how to be safe during a fire and how to avoid accidentally starting them. Keep lighters, matches and other objects that can ignite, in a location where small children are unable to reach them. Children should be taught the basics of what to do, and what not to do, in the event of a fire. Basics include crawling to avoid smoke and what to do if their clothes catch fire. Younger children should also be taught not to be afraid of or hide from firefighters who are there to help them. At home, the family should have, and practice, a fire safety plan so that everyone understands how to get out of the house in case of a fire.
- FEMA: Teaching Children Fire Safety
- American Red Cross Children and Fire Safety
- Teaching Kids the Facts About Fire
- Fire Safety Tips for Kids
To keep younger children safe in cars, it is necessary to have the correct type of car seat. The type of car seat that is used will change the older the child becomes. Infants, for example, must be kept in a rear-facing car seat for one year or until the maximum limit for weight and height is reached. Forward-facing car seats are used for children that outgrow rear-facing car seats. These car seats are used until the child reaches the maximum size limits. The final car seat level is a booster seat. Children must a booster seat until they are 12 years old or until they properly fit the vehicle’s regular restraint system. All children are required to sit in the car’s back seat until the age of 12.
Children should never be left unattended in a vehicle, even for a short time. Temperatures inside of a car can become deadly when the vehicle is parked. In some cases, temperatures may rise by 20 degrees in only 10 minutes. As a result, a child that is left inside of a car can suffer from heat stroke or worse. Children should be taught that cars are not toys, and they should not be allowed to play inside of, or near them. When allowed to play inside or near a car, children run the risk of being backed over or they may be trapped inside of a roll away vehicle. To reduce the risk of backing up over a child, drivers should not rely on their rear view mirror. Small children will not be visible in the mirrors, so it is advisable that drivers get out of the car and physically look before backing up.
As a teen there are new dangers associated with cars. When driving, a teen must be alert and aware at all times. This means staying away from drugs or alcohol, not driving while tired, and avoiding distractions in the car. Teens should never talk on the cellphone while driving, which is illegal in many states, and avoid texting while behind the wheel. Passengers can also prove to be a distraction, and the number of people allowed to ride in the car with a new driver should be kept to a minimum.