As parents, we want our kids to be safe; protected from any and all danger. When those little ones are infants, only adults can do that job. But as children grow, they become more and more capable of doing some of it themselves. The reality is that we won’t always be able to be there for our kids, so it’s important to teach them how to be safe. At A Child’s Place at the Ranches, a Gilbert preschool, we help parents and kids learn age appropriate safety tips.
- Make sure car seats are installed correctly and children are secured in them correctly. If you aren’t sure, visit a free car seat clinic at Mercy Gilbert Hospital.
- NEVER leave a baby in the car unattended. Whether you just want to “run in” to a store or you accidentally forget, a hot car can quickly turn deadly. As a reminder, when you strap your child in, take off your shoe and place on the seat next to the baby. When you reach your destination, it will be difficult to go in without your shoe – and your baby!
- ALWAYS watch children around water. A child can drown in as little as 2 inches of water, so make sure all water sources are secure (toilets have latches, mop buckets are empty, pools have gates).
- As kids become mobile, make sure to safety proof your home. This can mean safety gates, door knob covers, outlet covers, safety locks on cabinets (especially if they contain dangerous items such as cleaning supplies or medicine), extra locks on doors leading outside, and a pool fence.
- Make sure to talk to your child as you go through the routine of your day, saying, “We wear our seatbelts to keep us safe” or “We have to wait till it’s safe to cross the street and we always use the crosswalk.”
- Read books, play games, and sing songs about being safe. Some great resources include: PBS Parents, Scholastic, and Safe Kids.
- Go through “What If” scenarios with your child to help them think through possibilities, especially if they’re attending a Gilbert preschool or a daycare located elsewhere.
- Do not use scare tactics – either your child will believe you and go through life scared of everything, or they will recognize the unlikeliness of what you’re saying and you lose credibility.
- When your child does make an unsafe choice, make sure there is a quick and logical consequence (i.e., if she runs out in the street, she must immediately come inside as you remind her that if she cannot play safely, she cannot play at all).
Remember that teaching your kids safety is never ending, whether they are attending a Gilbert preschool or not. In fact, children cannot usually comprehend the reasons for the safety rules until they are about 8-10 years old. So keep teaching them, keep reminding them about what they’ve learned, and keep loving them even when they don’t do what you want them to do.