Personal Safety: What Should Your Child Know?

boy and his father

When children are very small they are rarely out of the sight of their parents or caregivers. When we think of their safety, it is usually in terms of car seats and choking hazards, steep stairs and too-tall play structures.

When they turn the corner from toddlers to preschoolers, things start to change. We stop following right behind them at the playground. They don't always want to ride in the cart at the grocery story (and some of them have gotten too big!). If they stray out of sight for a few brief moments we don't worry too much. We scan the area, we peer down the adjacent aisle and there they are, absorbed in play or in gazing at the cookie shelves.

These kinds of moments should not alarm us (they are absolutely to be expected). But they should be our cue that it is time to start teaching our little ones a few personal safety basics.

To begin, make sure your three-year-old knows:

  • His/her full name
  • His/her parents' full name and/or caregiver's full name
  • The name of the town where your family lives
  • His/her street name
  • His/her house or building number (and possibly apartment number)
  • A parent's cell phone number

And that your kindergartner knows:

  • His/her parents' second phone number
  • How to use a phone (this needs practice)
  • How to dial 911 in case of fire or emergency
  • Which neighbors he/she can go to in case help is needed
  • Which stores in the neighborhood to go to in case help is needed

Learning about safety needs to start early. Sometimes we are reluctant to begin this conversation with our kids because it makes us feel anxious (or course it does!). But put these initial lessons in the context of learning about your neighborhood, and it all becomes a lot less scary.

What information do you think your young children should know?

More from The Savvy Source:

• Five ways to make outings easier for special needs children.

• Teaching your child to draw his world: Map making for the very young.

Ten outdoor things every child should do before they're too cool to do it.

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