It’s so easy to want to wrap our children in cotton wool and protect them from the dangers of the world but children do need to know what to do in case of an emergency. There have been so many good news stories where children have saved their parent’s lives, that it’s reminded us that we need to be more pro-active in teaching our children the safety basics. There are so many to think about but here are our top 5:

  1. How to call 999. Spend some time to teach them how and when to call 999. It is important that they know that calling 999 is not a scary thing to do as the police/fire brigade or ambulance teams are there to help and will stay on the phone with them until someone arrives. These are the key things, that they need to know:
    • Their name
    • Their address. If you’re not at home, get them thinking about describing where you are.
    • Their telephone number in case they get disconnected
    • Know which emergency service they should ask for
    • How to open the door in an emergency
    • Take a look here for some activity packs and colouring sheets that will help you teach them how to call 999.
  2. The difference between a bad stranger and good stranger. We all know the famous “stranger danger” rule, but in the event that our children get lost, we don’t want them terrified of asking for help because most strangers are good. Instead of warning against all strangers, we teach the children to look for another mum with children if they can’t find one of us. Or someone working in a shop or a police officer. One of our children is super friendly and will talk to anyone and whilst this is a lovely trait to have, it’s been important to remind her that some adults are bad strangers so if any adults asks them for help, for directions or to find a lost pet.
  3. No one should touch them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable. Children need to know they have ownership of their own bodies and have a right to say ‘no’. Depending on their age, will affect the depth of conversation you can have but it doesn’t need to be scary. If your child doesn’t want to hug or kiss someone, don’t force them to – ask them if they’d rather shake hands (this is still my sister!) or give a high 5.  They should know that there are some private parts of their body that should never be touched by another person and that they shouldn’t touch others in those areas either.  
  4. Let your child know that they can always tell someone. Work out five people that they can talk to if they ever feel hurt or unsure of a situation: from someone upsetting them at school, to someone touching their private parts. Keep calm about what they are telling you and ask lots of open questions to help them discuss the situation further. Getting your children to confide in you, rather than keeping things a secret, it so important! And whilst the situation may not be a happy one, take the positive in that your child has come to you and they now know that you are there to comfort, love and support them.
  5. What to do if they get lost. Most parents have experienced that stomach churning feeling when they lose sight of their child. But if your children are ever in a situation that they need immediate help, do they know who to look to? Teach your children to look for other helpful people when they cannot find you or become lost. This may be a teacher, police officer, shop assistant or another adult with child. Make sure they understand to never to go to someone in a car or get into a car with someone who says they’ll help. What will also be helpful is that your child can say your full name and if possible, your mobile number!

Thank you for reading – there are so many safety skills that we need to be teaching our children but we hope our top 5 have got you thinking. Everyone may have slightly different safety rules but the important thing is that we a having these conversations from an early age – as they get older you can have a much deeper level of discussion. We can’t be around to protect them throughout their lives but we can help teach them to make the correct choices. What safety rules are you teaching your children?

Jemma & Gill xxx

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