It is a well known fact that kids- most kids at that- are bubbly and full of energy. Someone once said that kids run on sugar! Well, the truth is that keeping our kids safe at home is a priority and a duty for parents and caregivers. No parent would want to see their kids suffer any form of injuries or be in any form of danger in any way.

While it may seem impossible to always keep a watchful eye over your kids, there are a few handy ways you can teach them to stay out of harm’s way even when you are not with them.

1. Know whom to contact in case of an emergency

All children who are of age should be taught how to use a telephone and to ask for help. You would be surprised that your 4 year old daughter can actually find her way around on a telephone. Scientific research lends support to this quite well. Research shows that children aged 2 and above, with the careful aid of their parents or caregivers, can begin to memorize bits of information. While it may be hard for a 2 year old kid to understand an emergency situation, taking the time to consistently teach them can pay dividends later on. You never know! Play a role game around it with them frequently: let them practice not just how to locate the emergency number but also how to communicate over the phone. This is also a good time to ensure that your child is able to state their full name, age, and address as well as the contact details of his/her parents.

Teaching children to memorise important contact information, as well as how to react in the event of a home emergency, can help them take charge of their safety.

Depending on your child’s age and development, they might not be able to easily identify a dangerous situation. For younger children, it’s a good idea for them to have a list of phone numbers they can easily memorize. Mobile numbers of parents, caregivers, or other trusted family members should be provided for them to contact in the event of an emergency. The list should be placed in a central area of the house, like on the fridge door. The emergency list should include the contact details of the family doctor, as well as a contact number for each parent, and/or a trusted friend or family member.

2. Avoid opening the door for strangers

It is even more important for kids to know the dangers lurking around with each passing day. Kids are innocent- they believe and expect the best from people- including total strangers who only want to harm them. As parents and caregivers, it is crucial to emphasize the importance of not allowing strangers onto the property or into the house. Children should be encouraged to keep all doors around the house locked and secure. They should also be advised not to open the front door to anyone that they do not recognise, especially when they are home alone.

Consider installing security cameras around the house so that your kids can view who is at the door without having to jeopardise their safety.

3. Be familiar with the family escape plan

A family emergency escape plan should be a priority when it comes to teaching your kids about home safety. Time and time again, there have been cases- real life cases- where kids escaped dangers due to the fact that they “knew the drill.” It is crucial that your kids are familiar with the measures to take in the case of a burglary, natural disaster, or fire. In creating your family’s escape plan, the most important thing is to teach your kids the quickest way to get out of the house. Kids even find this exciting especially because it’s not the usual thing they do at home.

One way to effectively teach them this is to draw a diagram of your property and highlight the best escape routes for your home. Remember to designate a place to gather outside, in order to account for the safety of each family member.

4. Train them on how to apply first aid

Having a First Aid kit in the house is the first step towards ensuring that your kids know what to do in an emergency. While schools do their best in preparing kids for emergencies, it is not enough to rely on the knowledge imparted into kids at school. As parents and caregivers, you should ensure that your kids are equipped with life-saving techniques such as CPR and how to use a first aid kit. Make sure that the first aid kit and  the fire extinguisher are in a location that is easily accessible and that your kids are familiar with using them. Again, practice the drills with them.

5. Know how to practice water safety

Children can easily drown in just a few inches of water, which is why children under the age of six should always be supervised while taking a bath or playing in a pool.

Kids have thinner skin than adults and are more vulnerable to burns. To avoid scalding, children should always be taught to test the temperature of water, before fully submerging their bodies.

Children should also be reminded never to mix water and electricity as this can lead to electrocution. Things like toasters, hair dryers, radios, televisions, lamps or anything that is plugged into an electrical socket should never be held with wet hands. Better still, keep such gadgets out their reach by storing them away since kids can be somewhat adventurous.  

It is imperative for children to practice basic swimming and floating techniques so that they don’t panic in the water. If your child is still learning to swim, make it a firm rule that he/she wears protective water gear, such as flotation armbands or vests to help keep them afloat in the pool.

6. Avoid climbing on the furniture

Of course, you must have witnessed a scenario (maybe on TV or at a neighbor’s place) where children took no thought about home furniture as being something that could harm them or something to be revered. However, heavy items which aren’t mounted to a wall, like an unsteady television set or bookshelf, can cause serious injury to a child if climbed on. Also, giving your kids firm instructions about treating furniture and home fittings with care is a great way of imbibing good society values in them. For this reason, parents should be stern in their ruling and ensure that all furniture around the house is a no-go zone for kids.

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