You never realise how dangerous the world really is until you’re a parent. Now that you’re taking care of a tiny person, you may feel overwhelmed with the responsibility. So how can you make sure you keep your kids safe?
It all starts with education and common sense. Little minds will find a way to bend the rules unless they understand the rationale behind them. Positive habits take a while to form, so exercise patience while you reinforce these lessons regularly.
1. Help Them Improve Their Hygiene
Children get sick more often than adults because their immune systems haven’t yet developed sufficient antibodies to common illnesses. However, given the current COVID-19 pandemic, you should teach your kids how to prevent sickness.
Your children should know when and how to wash their hands properly. Many illnesses arise when people touch their eyes, nose or mouth with dirty digits. Teach your kids to lather up after they use the restroom and before they eat. They should also do so after playing with animals or taking out the garbage.
Technique matters — a rinse of water is insufficient for killing germs. They need to lather up for 20 seconds. Teach them to sing “Happy Birthday” in their heads twice to count time. If soap and water aren’t available, hand sanitizer requires correct use, too. Use a dime-sized amount and rub the substance in until it fully absorbs.
Kids can catch intestinal disorders from contaminated food. If they eat meat, instruct them to order hamburgers and other ground meat products cooked all the way through. Show them how to locate the expiration dates on food labels to check for expired products.
Set a positive example. When you have barbecues, for instance, keep dishes covered to avoid insect pests. Keep all cream-based salads like coleslaw cold, and put them in the refrigerator without delay.
2. Eliminate Common Household Dangers
Your home should be a haven for your little ones. However, threats can lurk, and you, as a parent, must take steps to eliminate them.
Your Garage Door
Multiple children suffer garage door injuries each year, and it makes sense. A garage door is a big, heavy slab of metal. If you have an automatic garage door opener, learn to test the reversing mechanism and do so monthly.
This feature makes your door automatically go back up when it detects something in its path. To check it, lower the door and hold out a block of wood or another object. The door should rise the second it makes contact.
Boiling water can scald, and hanging on the oven door may cause your appliance to tip over onto your child. Whenever possible, cook on the back burners.
If you must use the front, turn your pot and pan handles to face the back so that they are less tempting for little fingers to grab. Consider removing the knobs from your stove so that your little one can’t accidentally turn it on and start a fire. Keep sharp objects, like knives, out of reach.
Kids can drown in less than two inches of water — always supervise your children around the wet stuff. When you bathe them, never leave them unattended, even to rush out and grab a ringing phone. Be cautious of other hazards, too. A full mop bucket can look like an appealing toy until disaster strikes.
3. Teach Them “Street Smarts”
Yes, your angel will need to go out into the world solo one day. When that time comes, make sure they have the tools they need to protect themselves.
Determine When They’re Old Enough To Walk Alone
Walking to school alone is a right of passage for many children. Before yours do, make sure they are ready. As a general rule, do not allow children under age 10 to cross the street by themselves.
Their impulse control isn’t developed sufficiently. Choose the safest route between home and school and walk it with them. Wait until you feel confident they will follow all traffic rules before you say okay.
Do Talk To (Some) Strangers
Giving a blanket statement to children that they shouldn’t talk to strangers rarely works. Neither does telling them to find a police officer — when was the last time you encountered one on the street?
According to safety expert Gavin de Becker, you should tell your child to look for a woman if they get lost. Why? A female is less likely to be a sexual predator. She’s also more likely to remain with your child until help (or you) arrive.
Teach your child that if a strange adult approaches them, they should immediately tell you or another authority figure. Make it clear that nothing they say will make you stop loving them. Sexual predators rely on threats and silence to accomplish their deeds, and a child who can state assertively, “Don’t touch me there, or I’ll tell,” is a less attractive target.
Follow These Guidelines to Protect Your Children
You want to keep your precious little ones safe. These tips will help protect them from harm. Make sure you’ve accounted for all of the points on this list as you move forward, and feel confident! Your child’s safety is in good hands.