Safety for Children

One of the most important things parents or guardians can do is to teach a child how to keep safe. The Suzy Lamplugh Trust campaigns to increase public safety, and in the following article, the Trust outlines basic safety rules you should teach your children.

One of the most important things parents or guardians can do is to teach a child how to keep safe. Every parent worries about their children’s safety but it’s important to remember that most dangers can be minimised with proper awareness and suitable guidelines. It is especially important that children learn about personal safety.

Awareness needn't make children anxious

A lot of people believe that teaching young children about personal safety will frighten them. We believe this is wrong – there is no need to frighten children whilst simply teaching them to take the safest action in any situation. On the contrary, you will give the child the extra confidence of learning someone new and valuable to them.

The next time you are out with your children try asking them “What if…?” questions, such as “What should you do if you got lost?”; “What should you do if mummy doesn’t arrive to collect you from school?” and then talk through the answers together.

Tips for teaching safety awareness to children

The following ‘tips’ will give you a framework on which to base your advice as the child gets older. 

  • Discuss with them where they could go for help if they were lost or felt threatened – agree with them where they should go, perhaps a shop, garage or library.
  • Discuss with them the type of person they can approach for help if they are ever scared, threatened or lost. Identifying ‘safe’ people with your children will give them guidance on who to approach. Remember that it is not always strangers that pose a threat.
  • Teach them how to make an emergency call and make sure they always carry change or a phonecard in a secret pocket.
  • Ensure they know their address and telephone number at the earliest possible age.
  • Encourage them to tell you if anyone they know makes them feel strange or uncomfortable for whatever reason.
  • Let them know that they should never accept a lift from anyone - even if they know them – if it has not previously been arranged with their parent or guardian.
  • Teach them about safety on public transport: If someone makes them feel unsafe, they should go and sit near the driver, or if it’s a train move to another compartment which has other people. Emphasise that they should not get off before their own stop. There are emergency alarms on all buses and trains and tell them to use these if they feel they are in danger.

As they get older, teach them to plan ahead – this advice is not just for youngsters but should be carried out by any responsible adult! Before going out, teach them to ask themselves: Where am I going? How am I getting there – and back? Am I prepared for any changes of plan? Do people know where I’m going and when I’ll be back?

There is no doubt that it can be a dangerous world but we must keep the dangers in proportion. Nobody wants their children to be so wrapped in cotton wool that they cannot live life to the full. Life is for living and one of the best gifts you can give a child is the knowledge and confidence to make safe and responsible decisions.

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