Safety is priority number one with kids, but it’s a fine line between being safety aware and becoming the dreaded helicopter parent. Here are a few ways to keep kids active but safe so that they can enjoy all the fun that childhood has to offer. Use appropriate language and stress that while children are safe, it’s always good to idea to prepare your child just in case.
Protect the Head
Head trauma can have lasting results, and sadly, its symptoms are often missed. Children should always wear a helmet when they are on a bike or scooter, and this practice should start as soon as they start riding. Even if a child is only on a tricycle or a run bike, they can fall and hit their head. It’s best to start the practice of wearing a helmet early so that it just becomes second nature.
There are many colorful, fun designs with helmets. Include your child in the purchase so that they get a sense of ownership out of it. Once purchase, be sure to adjust the straps so that the helmet fits properly. There should only be two fingers-wide between the eyebrows and the helmet. The straps should form a V under the ear. And finally, there should only be one finger-width between the strap and the chin. Be sure to constantly monitor these lengths as your child will grow and the straps may stretch.
The standard trope of a stranger offering a kid candy thankfully doesn’t often happen anymore. And while this may be an easy story to tell kids, it’s important to really explain what constitutes a stranger and what to do if a stranger approaches. Instead of teaching kids to be polite to adults no matter what, teach them to be in control of their actions. If someone makes them uncomfortable, it’s ok to say so. And when in doubt, if a stranger does approach a child, teach them to be loud.
How to Call for Help
Kids need to know a few important numbers. 911 is the most important, and so does knowing when and why to call. Hard homework and lost dogs are not valid reasons. It’s also a good idea to roleplay what will happen if a child needs to call and to be safe. Pretend to be the operator so that a child becomes familiar with the language that will be used.
In addition to 911, have your child memorize both their home phone number, or your cell phone. A home address is also a good idea. This way if they happen to get lost, there is an easy way for them to be connected back to a parent. Again, repetition will be key for this memorization.