In summer, children spend most of their time outdoors, sometimes even out of sight of their parents. Femme4 found out from the head of the search and rescue team what safety rules should be remembered when sending children for a walk.
Always remember what your child is wearing when they leave home. If you go out into nature, dress in bright clothes. I will not tire of repeating that this applies to adults no less. Many go to the forest in camouflage, and it is impossible for rescuers to find them later, because they literally merge with the surrounding background. Clothing should be bright, ideally with reflectors so that a lost person can be found in the dark with a flashlight.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE
Make sure your child knows your full name, address, home phone number, and mobile phone number. It will be useful if the child knows where you work and how to find you during working hours.
Teach your child how to use the number 911, when to call it, and what to answer to the person on duty who answered the phone. Be sure to teach your child how to talk on the phone in general and how to answer calls or messages from strangers.
CLOSED DOOR MODE
Agree with the child that he should not open the door to the apartment for anyone, and also talk through it with anyone in your absence.
COMMUNICATION WITH STRANGERS
Warn your child never to talk to strangers or accept any offers from them, such as “see the kitten”, “lift”, etc. without your permission. You can not approach an unfamiliar car, regardless of who is in it. However, at the same time, teach your child that not all strangers are dangerous. Tell him who is the safest place to go to for help – a police officer, a mall security officer, or an employee with a name badge.
TEACH YOUR CHILD NOT TO TALK
Explain to your child that he should not give out personal information about your family to strangers. For example, how many rooms do you have, where do you go on vacation or how much do you earn. The same applies to communication in social networks and the Internet.
PLAY THE “WHAT IF…” SCENARIO
Teach your child to ask for help on their own by acting out situations when they might need it. For example, “what will you do if you fall off your bike”. Explain to whom and how to contact in this case. Practice this until you are sure that the child understands the situation and is not embarrassed by it. By talking with him about how to behave in ordinary and simple situations, you will give him a general skill in the correct behavior of situations that are more complex and unpredictable.
TEACH YOUR CHILD TO SAY NO
This is generally one of the most important skills – to everything that scares or confuses, to say “no”. Without hesitation and fear. Talk about potentially dangerous situations when needed. When with adults or older children, including relatives and acquaintances, your child should not do what he does not like. Also explain to your child that if he said no, but someone is forcing him to do something or is violent, you should scream, bite, break free, run away and attract the attention of passers-by in every possible way.
DO NOT WALK ALONE
Explain that it’s always best to bring a friend with you and always stick with a large group of people when the child is going out or simply riding in public transport. Going alone to an unfamiliar place is the worst option.
ALWAYS KNOW WHERE YOUR CHILD IS
Agree with the child that under no circumstances will he go anywhere without informing you or relatives about it. This strict rule must be rigorous. At any given time, you should have a clear answer to the question “Where is my child?”.
These are elementary safety rules, one might say, the basis of the basics that you should teach your child. But there are also a few rules that you must learn for yourself.
1. In addition to paying attention to what your child is wearing when you leave the house, it is important to have a photo of your child with you. Take a photo of him at least once every six months and have the latest, fresh photo with you.
2. Check and recheck your child’s babysitter references when applying for a job. After hiring her, one day come home unexpectedly early and assesses if everything is in order. And listen carefully to what your child has to say about the time spent with her.
3. Never force a child to kiss or hug an adult if he does not want to.
4. Know your child’s social circle, including who they follow on social media. Also know your child’s nickname on the Internet.
5. Walk or ride with your child on their daily routes, paying attention to safe places or landmarks where they can go for help. And then play the aforementioned “What if?” situation with him.
6. Learn to hear your child and feel him. Then he will share with you everything that happens to him, scares or embarrasses. Most of the problems we have witnessed could have been resolved before they appeared at this stage.
7. Every time your child walks out the door, you need to know WHERE he is going, WHO he is to meet and WHEN he is to return home.