The home can be a dangerous place for children. There are fall risks to contend with, dangerous chemicals in easy-to-reach places, electrical appliances and open outlets that can pose an electrocution risk, and of course the many dangers to be found in an average kitchen, from knives to hot stoves. To protect your children, it helps to teach them about basic home safety. Doing so can prevent your child from being injured – or worse. Here are some tips for teaching your child about home safety.
Role Play Safety Scenarios
Consider some common dangers that your child may experience in the home. A stranger knocking on the front door, for example. Or a pot of boiling water sitting on the front burner of the stove. Write a list down outlining these risks, and create role playing scenarios around them. You can describe the situation and then ask your child how he or she would react or behave in such a situation. You can then tell them how they should react. This is an engaging, interactive, and tremendously helpful exercise that will allow you and your child to get on the same page when it comes to household risks and threats.
Conduct Safety Scavenger Hunts
Where are the fire extinguishers? How do you turn the oven or stove off? Where are the telephones? How do you get help in an emergency? Perhaps more to the point, where are all of the exits in the house? These questions and more can be answered with a scavenger hunt. By incorporating safety lessons into a fun and engaging game, you can help your child learn the basics while improving their retention and memory. And because your child is actually finding these items in real life – rather than simply being told where they are – they will be far more likely to go to them should the need arise.
Make Simple Safety Tasks Fun
It’s one thing for your children to know where something is in the house. But do they know how to use it? Having fire extinguishers readily available does your children no good if they aren’t instructed on their proper use. And if they know where the exits are, but not how to unlock them, then there’s no way for them to leave the house in case of an emergency.
Teach your children some basic tasks by having them try it out for themselves; this will help ensure that they know what to do – and how to do it – should they ever need to. Teach them how to lock and unlock deadbolt locks, purchase an inexpensive fire extinguisher so that they can try it out for themselves, and make imaginary calls to 9-1-1 for practice. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. No lesson is as valuable as a practical demonstration.
Demonstrate How to Arm and Disarm Security Systems
If your home is equipped with a security system or home automation system, instruct your children on its use. Teach them how to arm and disarm the system, and show them how they can check the system’s status: live or inactive. Though many security and home automation systems, like those offered by ADT, can be activated remotely via a smartphone or tablet, it’s still a good idea to instruct your children on the basic functionalities of the system – especially if they spend time home alone or are expected to activate the system after you’ve already left the house.
Run Mock Fire Drills
When conducting a mock fire drill, first cover the basics of fire safety: stay low, check for heat behind doorways, find the nearest escape route, and leave everything behind. You can then go over the escape plan, what to do in the event the fire alarm goes off (test your fire alarms so that your children know what they sound like), and various scenarios.
Discuss evacuation routes and options, where to meet in the event of a fire, how to check for smoke or fire, and what to do if smoke or fire is detected. You should then conduct a trial run for each of these options. If it isn’t feasible to do so, demonstrate what you can. For example, you may not be able to practice a window escape, but if your child’s bedroom is equipped with an escape ladder, you can instruct him or her on its use.
Go Over the Basics!
Teaching your children home safety essentially comes down to covering the basics. What’s safe to touch and what isn’t? What should your children do in a given scenario? Where are the safety items in the home, and how do they work? If you cover the basics, you will be providing your children with invaluable information and knowledge that can pay dividends in an emergency. Better yet, this knowledge may help prevent an emergency from ever occurring in the first place. Start teaching your children today – they’re worth it.