For Novembers child safety and prevention month, we are offering 5 SAFETY SKILLS EVERY CHILD SHOULD BE TAUGHT:
1. Calling 9-1-1
Make sure you rehearse with them their address, telephone number, and how to explain to the operator what the emergency is.
A good and free app is DialSafe PRO by Little Bit Studio. The simulator sounds like a real person is talking to them so they can practice on calling 9-1-1.
2. Knowing who is a bad stranger
A bad stranger never asks for help, directions,or to find a lost pet. Remind your child that they should not walk or ride with a stranger and they should not accept any gifts or food from people they do not know.
A good stranger could be a teacher, doctor, sales person, police officers or other moms. Give examples of strangers and people your child knows, so that you can be sure your child can differentiate between strangers
3. Knowing what to do if a stranger is trying to lure in a child
Scream: IM NOT GOING! YOU ARE NOT MY MOTHER/FATHER!
Run to the nearest safe place.
Tell a safe person what happened.
If your child needs help with any of these three steps, you should prompt your child with either a verbal prompt (“What do you do next?”) or a physical prompt ( guide your child to walk away from the stranger).
4. Not to open the door to someone who is not an immediate family member.
It is an important skill to teach your child in using a peephole and able to identify someone who is not familiar. Let them know that in those situation, it is better not to speak to the stranger and alert the parent.
Get a partner and act out what it would look like for a stranger to ring the doorbell or knock on the door.
5. Using their gut instinct
A fear factor can be powerful in keeping kids safe, but often isn’t used because we fail to help our kids learn to use their instinct. Teach your child that if she ever feels she could be in danger, to use that fear instinct and leave immediately. They have a right to say NO to a stranger, to scream, to fight, to kick when they feel unsafe.
Vanderbilt provides a helpful guide in teaching safety to children with disabilities. You can find the pdf here.
Tip: Just to be on the safe side, make a bracelet with your phone number on it just in case your child gets separated from you in public.