There are plenty of ways to keep your kids safe, so you can mix and match the ones that apply to your situation so you always know your little ones are out of harm’s way. Of course, accidents are still possible and there are no guarantees, but vigilance and awareness are two of a parent’s best tools when it comes to safety. My list by no means covers all the ways to keep your kids safe, but it goes through some of the bigger ones. Check them out, but feel free to impart any of your wisdom on me as well.
1. Monitor Online Activities
One of the best ways to keep your kids safe from unseen dangers is to know what they’re doing online. I keep our computer in a central location where I can easily glance at what’s on the screen anytime I want or need to. My kids aren’t old enough to have smartphones yet, but experts strongly encourage parents to install safety features and check their child’s phone often for strange text messages or search histories. Child predators lurk online, but aren’t always easy to detect, so it really pays to keep your kid’s online activity at the forefront your mind.
2. Keep Them in Sight
Anytime you’re out and about, be sure you never let your child out of your sight. That goes a long way toward being sure your child doesn’t get lost or snatched when you aren’t looking. This includes grocery shopping, wandering the mall, playing at the park or going to the amusement park. Obviously, there will a come a time when your kids are old enough to go off on their own, but by then you’ll have had the chance to go through all the safety steps and can hopefully trust them to follow them closely.
3. Practice Water Safety
Did you know that a child can drown in as little as one inch of water? That’s why it’s so important to keep your children close by anytime you’re near the water. Never leave your child alone in the tub, unless he’s old enough to get in and out on his own. Even then, do regular checks by calling out to him or peeking your head in the door to be sure everything is as it should be. At the pool, the lake, the river or the ocean, stay within an arm’s reach of your child so you can grab him if needed. A life jacket is a must on boats or when swimming in deep water.
4. Have an Escape Plan
What would your family do if your house caught fire? Would everyone know what to do? The experts advise coming up with a plan that everyone has a part in should the house catch fire or some other emergency takes place. Ours is that the kids will leave the house though the front door or their windows. My husband and I will grab the pets and make sure all the kids have made it out. We will all meet at the big tree in the front yard before taking the next step. Of course, we have a backup plan too, just in case. Come up with something similar and run through it often so no one forgets. On a side note, you should have smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home and check them often.
5. Screen Caregivers
Unless your kids are always watched by Grandma and Grandpa, you need to do your research anytime you plan to hire a babysitter and nanny. Ask for references with phone numbers and talk to each of them. Ask for details about her past and be sure you are comfortable with her before leaving the kids. If you’re ever worried about the goings on when you aren’t home, find a new caregiver.
6. Teach Emergency Numbers
You probably have a plan for if you ever need to get your child emergency medical help. Does she know how to do the same for you? What happens if you are knocked unconscious at home or hurt in a car accident? Teach your child how to call 911 so that she can get help if you can’t. Many kids have saved a parent’s life by having this information. Practice (without actually calling) and be sure you child is prepared if she needs to be.
7. Sex Offenders List
I know it’s not a pleasant topic and one that no parent wants to have to think about. However, it’s a good idea to scan the sex offenders list for your area on a regular basis. That way you have an idea of who is living in your neighborhood and can protect your kids accordingly.
How do you keep your kids safe? Do you think my advice is valuable? Share any other tips you have – I’d love to hear from you!