Talking About Child Safety

There's more to keeping your kid safe than being aware of stranger danger. Here are six basics for her to know.

By Holly Pevzner



Talking About Child Safety

Teaching safety basics requires more than popping a helmet on your kid’s noggin when she rides her scooter. Does she know what to do if she gets lost? What about if a stranger asks for her picture online? Take these steps to raise your cutie safety-smart.

Bolster Memory
Have your kiddo practice reciting 911, her home phone number and address, and your cell number. (Plus, make sure she knows how to get into — and dial — your cell if needed.)

Stay Virtually Safe
Use a service that offers digital parental control features. Also tell your child to never give out her picture, school name, password, or any other personal information online without your go-ahead.

Start Reading
Kick off a safety talk with the story of Hugo, a sweet 6-year-old hippo. In the new tale A Little Book About Safety (Ruby’s Studio, $13), he shares 10 smart stay-safe tips, like how to be the boss of your own body.

Revise “Don’t Talk to Strangers”
It’s important for your kid to understand that if she feels threatened, it’s okay to ask a stranger for help. Work together to identify safe adults to approach, like a police officer or teacher. You can also I.D. spots she can head to if she’s uneasy, such as firehouses or stores.

Teach “Disrespect”
Parents work hard to instill kids with a sense of respect, “but we also need to teach them to forget politeness if someone scares them,” says Michelle L. Boykins, a spokesperson for the National Crime Prevention Council. Tell your child it’s okay to yell, “This person is not my parent!” or even “Fire!” to get people’s attention.

Quiz Kids at Home
Can your kid spot questionable behavior? Ask, “What would you say if a teenager asked you to help him look for his puppy?” “How would you react if a grown-up asked you to keep a secret?” Use your child’s answers to help guide the discussion toward the smartest responses.

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