I gotta be real, thinking about moments where my little one could be harmed is jarring and unsettling. As uncomfortable as it is, it’s imperative to teach kids about what to do in certain scenarios. Being proactive about her safety could easily mean life or death.
#1: What to do When Around Strangers
It may seem a little melodramatic that a stranger would abduct your child, but it is a possibility. Knowing what can potentially happen, we need to inform our kids about the dangers of unknown people. Ask your child(ren) to describe what a stranger looks like. After they do, be sure to stamp that there is no definitive look for a stranger. All individuals that they have not been introduced to my parents should be treated as strangers.
With Camille, we’ve added “tricky people” to the “stranger” bucket. We’ve defined “tricky people,” as people, both known and unknown, who try to trick kids into breaking the rules of safety. Tricky people may not be menacing, in fact, they will most likely be very charming. The number one goal when we come across tricky people is to get away and to safety with someone that they trust.
If being pursued by a stranger, children should be instructed to cause as big as a scene as possible. All manners should go out of the window as kids try to draw attention to the pursuer. Instruct them to scream phrases like “Who are you?! Where is my mom or dad?!” When discussing with your kids what to do in situations like this, pose questions like “What should you do if X?” Even go so far as to roleplay what they would and should do in caught in a particular situation.
Tip: I love getting everything monogrammed. I was once told to get rid of personalized stuff for Camille. The rationale was that kids are more likely to trust a stranger who knows their name. It makes sense. Don’t compromise your kid’s safety by making it easy for a predator to lure your kid in.
#2: How to Properly Treat a Gun
Regardless of what side you fall on in the national gun-debate, your kid needs to know what to do if they encounter one. About a third of American adults own a gun, and so even if your family doesn’t, they may find themselves in a relative or friend’s house who has one.
It’s imperative that kids know first and foremost that guns can cause harm. Some kids may assume that a real gun is a toy, and so it is vitally important for them to know that there is no real way to tell a replica gun from a real gun. The number one thing that they should keep in mind is simply not to touch it because it could accidentally go off and seriously hurt or kill someone. The best bet is to walk away and immediately inform an adult.
#3: How to Cross a Street
Crossing the street is something that we do several times a day without even thinking about it. After doing something rather simple for a long period of time, we often forget that someone had to first teach us. Kids won’t inherently know the rules of traffic and how to operate safely as a pedestrian. One of the first lessons that they should internalize is that they could potentially get hurt or hurt others if they aren’t attentive. It’s a heavy thing to grasp, but it’s the core as to why our kids need to cross the street safely.
As non-drivers, children can’t accurately gauge the speed and distance at which vehicles are traveling. It’s important that we model for them how to cross safely. Children are sponges, so when we are crossing with them, even if we don’t see any traffic, wait for the appropriate walk sign to appear before crossing. Remind them that before they step out into the street, look both ways at least twice. One of the biggest causes of pedestrian accidents is distractions. As stated before, we have to model what safety looks like. No phones, no earphones, but rather 100% attentiveness.
Let me be the first to say that it is really disturbing to think about what could happen if Camille didn’t know how to respond to danger. With things like this, I always think that it would be better for her to be knowledgeable and not need the information, rather than need the information and not have it. Let’s be proactive when it comes to our little one’s safety.