I loved my childhood! I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, no internet, no computers, no cell phones, not even a pager! Some may say that it was safer back then, but I don’t think there is that big of a difference. There were still rapists, murderers and pedophiles lurking around like today, but we weren’t fearful of everything and anything. My parents taught us child safety, to handle ourselves and be safe in public. In the event we encountered a stranger or situation we knew what to do, but more importantly we always took preventative measures. This is where my list of child safety tips comes from.
Our parents taught us basic safety lessons dealing with strangers, people who came to the door, called on the phone, or pulled up next to us in a car. We were cautioned about areas to stay away from and routes not to take to get around.
We were gone for hours at a time and knew when to be back home. Our parents didn’t know where we were half of the time, but we told them who we would be with or the area we would be in. If they checked, we were there. When it was time to be home, we were home. They weren’t texting every five minutes or calling. They taught us and gave us the opportunity to be trusted.
They gave us the rope and we either used it to climb to greater heights of trust or hang ourselves by showing we couldn’t be trusted. We NEVER wanted to lose our parents trust!!!
Many of these child safety tips were the same as I was taught way back when. They are still relevant and effective, and should be taught to your children. Ensure they have a full understanding and quiz them to make sure they’ve got it. Then give them the opportunity to prove it and earn your trust. I’ll bet it’s still a big deal to them today, and it will be peace of mind for you, knowing they possess the tools they need to make safe decisions.
1. This one is for the parents. Maintain up to date photographs of your children. They should be clear and have a close enough view of the child’s face. They can be used to identify them in the event they are missing.
2. If your children come home from school alone, teach them to not enter the home if the door is ajar or open. If there is a strange car parked in front of the house or in the driveway, or if their gut tells them something is not right, do not go into the house. This could be when they come home from school or from playing with their friends. Have an agreed upon safe place for them to go (trusted friend, neighbor or public place) until you arrive. Have them contact you and let you know that is where they will be.
3. Instruct them to NEVER leave home without first letting you know where they are going and who they will be with (Even if they complain!)
4. Tell them to travel in pairs or small groups and avoid walking alone if possible.
5. Avoid isolated areas! This may sound obvious but kids will use them to take short cuts, especially if they are late getting home. Teach them the dangers.
6. Have approved areas locally where they can play. Preferably where the activities are supervised by responsible adults and police protection is readily available. For example, when I was young, the only place I was allowed to go away from the house was the playground at the school up the street, where they had a full time playground attendant.
7. Instruct them to refuse rides from strangers and to NEVER accompany a stranger anywhere on foot, even if the stranger tries to enlist their help to “find a puppy” or offers them gifts or food.
8. If ANYONE attempts to talk to them or touch them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable or scared, teach them to report it immediately to the closest person of authority (parent, teacher, police, fire department).
9. Teach them proper phone safety and when answering the phone at home to NEVER give out information about family members, parent’s occupation, names, future family plans or dates you may be gone.
10. Teach them to screen calls through caller ID and/or voicemail and avoid answering calls from strangers and numbers they do not know.
11. Teach them what a stranger is and that strangers are not always adults, but can be older kids they have seen at school. For older children, ensure they understand that just because they may “know” a kid or adult from school does not mean they truly know them or what type of person they are when alone with that person or in other situations. It is perfectly okay to not be so trusting!
Teaching your children these safety tips will go a long way in giving them the tools to stay safe when at school or other times when they are away from home. The importance of these safety tips and guidelines cannot be understated, but are not to cause the child fear or to be paranoid. The goal is to ensure they have a complete understanding of the rules you set and why, so that they are aware and vigilant while they are on their own.
Instill confidence in your child to stand up for themselves and stick to these and other rules you have set for their safety in spite of what their friends or others are doing. Peer pressure is a mighty strong influence when kids are trying to “fit in” and find their place in the world. Going along with friends, especially when it is contrary to what you have taught them and what their gut might say, can put them in a world of trouble if they are not careful. It is better to do what is right and take the correct path, even if you are taking that path alone!
With technology today it is easier than ever before to keep in touch with your kids and even track their movements, but those tools mostly serve you, the parent. While a cell phone enables your child to call you in an emergency, it does not tell them the correct action to take when confronted with strangers or dangers on the street. That must come from you. I know there are also safety concerns when it comes to electronic devices, the internet and social media, but those will be addressed in a future post.
Also check out Are You Protecting Your Child? A look at growing and concerning problem making headlines in the news.
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Until next time, Be Safe, Be Aware and Be Prepared!
God Bless You!
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I am a follower of Jesus Christ, a martial artist for over 32 years, a husband, father and grandfather. I am on a journey to become all that God created me and other men to be. Leader, protector, warrior, son, husband and father. I hope that through my journey and this website that I can help other men in getting on their feet and standing tall in all God created them to be.