Friday, December 27, 2019

Parenting 101: How to Keep Your Kids Safe Inside and Outside Your House

We all want to keep our kids safe. This post sent in from a reader is chock full of ideas on how you can keep your kids as safe as can be, while still giving them healthy freedoms.

A parent’s primary concern is their child’s safety. It’s a scary world out there, and a lot can go wrong, but with the right tools, you and your children can be ready when something’s amiss! As parents, we naturally want what’s best for our children, and we owe it to them to keep them as secure as reasonably possible. You love them more than anything, so here are some major ways to keep your children safe inside and outside of the house.

Outside the House

Make Sure They Have Cell Phones

Cell phones are one of the greatest inventions of the digital age, and they can go a long way in keeping your child safe. With a cell phone, your child can check in at regular intervals, and they can call you, a trusted adult, or 911 in the case of an emergency. Be sure that your child is always carrying a cell phone with them, and try to opt for a service provider that offers the best coverage in your area.

Monitor Social Media Use

If you allow your children to have social media, monitor their online activity very closely. Make sure that they do not post any revealing information or talk to strangers online. Furthermore, adequately educate them on the dangers of child predators, abductors, and strangers in general. The internet is one of the most prolific hunting grounds for child abusers, so you and your children need to be extra vigilant about their online activity.

Instruct Them on Consent

Everyone should know that no means no, but unfortunately, many children fall prey to predators because they do not understand that they have bodily autonomy. Your children should have the final say when it comes to who touches them, so be a good role model, and don’t force them to hug, kiss, or touch anyone whom they don’t want to. Also, make sure that they know that consent goes both ways.

Show Them How to Cross the Street

Crossing the street is a simple task, but it can be very dangerous if not done right. Your kids should know to look both ways, wait for crossing lights, and only cross at crosswalks when possible.

Be Mindful of Your Child’s Friends

Kids can easily get swept up in a bad crowd, and sketchy people can expose your kids to drugs, alcohol, and dangerous situations. If you don’t think that your kid’s friends have their best interests at heart, prohibit your kid from visiting them. Explain to your kid why these people are no good, and try to gear them towards constructive activities where they can make better friends.

Foster Trust With Your Child

Your child should not be afraid of you, and they should be able to let you know when something’s wrong. If you yell at your kids or over-punish them for even the slightest infraction, they won’t go to you when they need help. If they don’t go to you when they’re in trouble, the situation can quickly snowball and get much worse. Let your kids know that they can trust you to get them out of any bad situation. They should know that reasonable consequences may come, but their safety and wellbeing come before anything else.

Teach Them to Swim

Even if you live in the middle of the desert, you never know when your kid may be exposed to a body of water. If they happen to be messing around and fall into a pool, lake, or river, they’ll likely drown if they don’t know how to swim. If you’re not the best instructor, enroll your child in a local swimming class so that they know enough to stay afloat.

Make Them Wear a Helmet

If they’re biking, rollerblading, or doing some other high-velocity activity, make sure that your kid wears a helmet. It may not look “cool,” but a helmet can be the difference between a minor scrape and a lifetime in a coma.

Listen to What They Have to Say

Sometimes, your child will talk your ear off, and it seems like they’re just going on about nothing important. While it may be tempting not to look too deeply into your child’s words, you should always listen carefully. Small details can be very significant, and you never know when they might mention something alarming.

Show Them How to Read Body Language

They should have a good idea of what angry, sad, and unstable people looks like. Being able to identify body language can help them see a bad situation before it escalates.

Talk About Drugs and Alcohol

Tell your kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and try to lead by example. Kids who see their parents frequently consume drugs or alcohol are far more likely to mimic these behaviors. Set ground rules and consequences of drug and alcohol use to deter them from experimenting with bad substances.

Stranger Danger

Your kids need to know that they should not talk to strangers. Let them know some of the common tactics that strangers used to abduct kids, and make sure that they know how to exit a situation if it ever becomes dangerous.

Don’t Share Their Location

Don’t post on social media regarding your child’s whereabouts. You’re basically pinpointing them on the map for potential predators.

How to Contact Emergency Services

Knowing how to call emergency services, when to call emergency services, and what to do while they wait are extremely important skills for your child to learn. This knowledge could save your child’s life.

Inside the House

Treat Cracks and Structural Damage

Any damage to your home’s structure is a huge liability. Even a tiny crack can lead to a structural collapse. Micro-cement cracks are especially insidious. They can easily lead to floods and cave-ins. This website has more on this topic, and it can help you better understand how to deal with micro-cement cracks. By taking care of cracks and structural damage right away, you’re keeping your kids safe while avoiding costly repairs in the future.

Check Your Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. It can’t be seen, heard or smelled. The only way to detect carbon monoxide is with a functional carbon monoxide detector. Test your carbon monoxide detector monthly, and if it shows any signs of wear and tear, get a new one.

Clear the Home of Fire Hazards

On top of making sure that all smoke detectors are properly working, you also want to make sure that your home is easy to escape in the case of a house fire. Clear all clutter, and ensure that all windows and exits are unobstructed.

With these easy tips, you can rest easy knowing that your children are ready to face the world. It only takes a little preparation and education to make a world of difference for your child, and nothing is more important than making sure that they grow up in a safe and healthy environment.