Things You Need to Teach Your Kids About Safety and Emergency Situations

While we hope the unthinkable will never happen , it never hurts to be prepared

Since we can’t possibly control this though, it is vital to teach our kids from an early age on how to react, behave and what to do in case they are faced with an emergency.

The process of teaching your children what information they need to know in case of emergency should begin around age 3. They won’t memorize it all instantly so regular repetition and practice is a key, and it can be done through fun games such as role play, a game of memory or even just a question and answer session.

1. Names, address and phone number of parents or relatives

Teach kids both mom and dad’s full name, their full address including city and at least one parent’s cell phone number. Those information become handy in case if your child gets lost or is involved in some form of accident. It is a good idea to help them memorize the number of the parent who is most likely to be accessible or the number that is easier to remember. Practice using a toy telephone or by reciting the phone number in a sing-song style.

A customised wrist bracelet with your phone number is a great idea for a young child who is not quite old enough to remember your phone number but is totally and completely mobile.

2. teach kids when and how to dial emergency phone calls

Your child should know what an emergency is, as well as how to dial 999 on both a landline and most importantly a cell phone which is more tricky as he needs to know how to access the emergency screen on your cell phone without help. Let them know what personal details must be given and that it is ok to tell this information to a stranger in this situation only. Familiarise children with emergency situations through practice/role-play to practice their knowledge and help reduce panic or anxiety in case of a real emergency. Practice several times a year so that your children are as prepared as possible to deal with emergencies.

Make sure your mobile phone is registered to your address so emergency services can dispatch if a child dials but doesn't talk.

It is good to keep an emergency phone list taped inside a cabinet or placed in space that can be easily accessed by your child.

3. Your child should know what to do in the event of a fire.

Fires are one of the most common emergencies in which kids are involved and more than half of fire related deaths happen to children under 4 years. Make sure your kids know, from a very young age, about policemen and firefighters.

Again, acting out emergency situations and challenging kids to problem solve their way through them will help make them more comfortable and confident in actual emergencies. Practice escape routes around your house as part of a firefighter game and let them know which neighbor could they go to for help. Make sure to handle the topic carefully, you don't want to scare your child or make the possibilities sound like a horror movie but to make sure they know what dangers fire brings, that they should know never to hide under a bed in case of a fire but find the exit route and scream for help.

4. Medical information

Teach children to be able to tell someone if they or a family member has allergies or medical conditions. Explain in simple terms symptoms to watch out for and when to dial emergency services. If the child has a medical condition, it is important to get them a medical bracelet.

5. Your child should know what to do if approached by a stranger

Firstly think about whether your child actually understands what's meant by a 'stranger'?Children despite knowing that they should never go with a stranger, might be still confused about what a stranger actually looks like or does. Stranger is anyone unknown to your child who approaches them for no reason (unless your child is obvious distress, has had an accident or is lost) whether it is a male, female, smartly dressed or very polite - it doesn't matter - anyone could pose a danger. Explain your kids that grown-ups don’t ask little kids for help, they ask other grown-ups and if they are approached and feel in danger it's okay to run and scream.

6. Your child should know what to do if they become separated from you

You should begin talking about the possibility of getting lost with your toddler. Teach your child who they can trust if they get separated from you in a public place and how to identify "safe" people (like store clerks, parents with children, and police officers/security officers) if ever lost, you can practice these tips with your child when you are out and about by asking which of the adults around you he would approach in such situation.

Tell your child to never go looking for you if they become separated. The best thing for them to do is to stay right where they are so that you can come and find them.

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