November is Child Safety Protection Month and in support of this cause, WAK wants to offer tips to help you keep your children safe on and off the road. In a world of ever advancing technology, the threats to our children are more subtle than ever. Aside from the hundreds of thousands of children that go missing each year, hundreds of thousands more are exposed to dangerous situations every day.
The best way to keep your child safe is to be aware. This means that as parents, we have to pay attention to everything they do when they are with us, and when they aren’t. As the mother of 3 children, it’s virtually impossible to track my kids’ movements at all times. But I’ve learned to have plans in place to ensure their safety. Here are some of my tips for keeping children safe:
In the Car and on the Road:
- Always keep your children in age appropriate safety restraints in the back seat.
- Never leave small children unattended in cars.
- Keep cars locked when not in use to prevent children from entering while playing.
- Teach your older children the rules of the road and car safety.
- Have an emergency kit in your vehicle and teach your children how to use it.
- Have the number for your insurance or road side assistance readily available where your kids can find it.
- Keep a cell phone charger and other emergency items in your car at all times.
- Use parental controls on all devices.
- Limit internet access and time on internet.
- Teach children how to use technology safely.
- Check your children’s devices to be sure safety controls are in place and working properly.
- Set passwords for all devices to prevent them from gaining unauthorized access.
- Have discussions about the danger of the internet and how to enjoy the web safely.
- Know where your kids are going, when they are expected to arrive and check in to be sure they got their safely.
- Children should always walk to school or bus stops with a buddy and never alone.
- Use cell phones or walkie talkies to keep in contact with children when they are playing at friends’ homes or in the neighborhood.
- Make sure children know their parents’ phone numbers and emergency numbers.
- Practice stranger safety tips and have a plan for emergencies like fires or floods.
- Enroll kids in programs like DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and anti-bullying campaigns.
- Do not post their name, address or other personal information on their belongings or clothing.
- Teach children to trust that little voice inside of them that tells them right from wrong and warns them of danger.
- Provide an open platform for children to discuss their concerns and fears with you. The more they feel they can come to you with the little things, the more they will communicate the bigger things to you later.
As parents, we live busy lives. But it is our responsibility to pay attention to the things our kids say and do, the people they hang out with, and those moments that make the little hairs on the backs of our necks stand up. If we suspect something is not quite right, it is our responsibility to our children to investigate that further. Our children rely on us for everything: food, shelter and most of all, safety. Keeping our kids safe is not only an obligation we have to them, it is a privilege we should treasure as much as we treasure them!