Follow this to-do list to get your child ready for anything.
“Don’t talk to strangers.” It’s advice all children receive from their parents. But it’s only the beginning. In today’s culture, children are more self-reliant than ever, which means they are exposed to more potential threats at an earlier age. A vital part of parenthood is knowing how to prepare your child to handle an emergency. Follow this to-do list to put your children on the right path to safety in any situation.
CHILD SAFETY TO-DO LIST
[ ] Explain the difference between an emergency and a problem
Simply stated, an emergency is an event that requires your children to contact an emergency service. Problems, though possibly serious in nature, do not warrant calling the police or fire department. Scenarios qualifying as emergencies would be a fire, a break-in or medical trauma.
[ ] Put home safety plans in place
When disaster strikes, it’s important that your children work with you, as opposed to being a distraction. Involve them in your home safety plans for such situations as fire evacuation, home invasions, natural disasters and serious injuries.
[ ] Role-play to drive home the best course of action
Act out specific situations, such as a parent having an accident at home or a fire and coach your children on how to react. Be sure to practice each type of safety plan regularly and give them quick quizzes to keep everything fresh in your children’s minds.
[ ] Create survival kits
Having the right supplies on hand in an emergency can save lives. Involve your children when creating emergency kits. By helping out, they’ll understand when to use each item and they’ll learn about various occasions in which the kit will be needed.
[ ] Familiarize your children with 9-1-1
Show your children how to dial 9-1-1 and explain events that require an emergency call. Tell them what the operator will ask. Your children will be asked for their full name and your home address. They will also need to describe the nature of the emergency to the best of their ability. Be clear that 9-1-1 calls are very serious and are never to be made frivolously or as a joke.
[ ] Help them know their numbers
Outside of 9-1-1, it’s smart to inform your children of other important phone numbers to know. Make a safety card for them with contact information for the police department, fire department, your nearest hospital and, most importantly, their parents. If your child carries a cell phone, have emergency contacts programmed in, so they can call instantly with the touch of a button.
[ ] Talk about possible natural disasters in your region
From hurricanes in the northeast to earthquakes in the southwest, each region of the country has its own natural disasters to prepare for. Make sure your children know what to do when Mother Nature is at her worst.
[ ] Teach your children steps to take when alone
There’s no worse feeling than when you and your children get separated. Make sure you designate a safe place away from your home, where you can all meet up. It can be a friend’s house, the park down the street or a nearby schoolyard. Walk to the safe place a few times to make sure they know how to get there.
[ ] Make sure they know their neighbors
Explain to your children that when disaster strikes, communities come together and neighbors help one another. Make sure they are comfortable with some of the other adults on your street. You can even arrange for a specific neighbor to be a go-to helper in case of emergency.
[ ] Go over their school’s emergency policies
Inform them on what will happen if a dangerous situation takes place while they are at school or daycare. Have a plan for picking up your kids and provide comfort by telling them that all of their teachers are trained to handle emergencies.
[ ] Educate your children on how to avoid dangers around the home
Accidents are the leading cause of injury and death to children in the home.1 Do your best to avoid harm and point out potential dangers, such as power tools, hot stoves, electrical outlets and steep stairways.
[ ] Keep them calm
It’s easy to focus on X’s and O’s when teaching your kids how to approach an emergency, but try to prepare them for the emotional aspect. They may get very scared. It’s important for them to follow the plan and understand that they will be okay. Also reassure them by mentioning that a trusted adult will be around to help out in most situations.