Rules exist for teaching your child to be safe. Tips change from age to age. And change in number depending on the source. However, most warnings fall under the category of “Be Aware.” For instance, look at Tip number 7 of the University of Rochester education.
7. If you get lost in a store, don’t wander around looking for your parent. Go at once to a clerk or guard.
Simple enough. If the child is aware of what a clerk or guard looks like. Question: How do you teach such tips without boring or frightening your child unnecessarily? Solution: Start teaching awareness at a young age – about one year old. Simply teach them to see the world around them.
Take the example above: teaching guards and clerks. At the grocery store, tell your child, “We have to let the clerk ring up our groceries. We have to pay the clerk. Say ‘Goodby’ to the clerk.” The same applies to the guard at the door. “There is the guard by the door. He is always by the door going out. Say, ‘Goodby’ to the guard.”
This sets the place and appearance of clerks and guards in the child’s mind. At the same time, you are building Baby’s vocabulary.
“Look both Ways Before Crossing the Street.” Make this a daily, and fun learning experience. When walking with Baby in the stroller, make a point of saying, “Stop. Look for cars. OK. We can cross now.”
When driving, the same thing can occur: “Stop sign. Stop. Look for cars. OK we can go now.” Or: “Red light, stop. Green light. Go”
Walking or driving, be aware of your surroundings, and use it to teach awareness as a safety measure. “There is a man on a bicycle.” “Look at the dog.” “Here comes a car. That car is backing out of the driveway.” “People are waiting for the bus. The bus is stopped to pick up people. The bus is big.”
Not much happening? Describe the scenery. Even young children can recognize the way home. “There is the purple house. That’s the big building. Look at all the flowers. Hear the dog barking? There is the park.”
Are you, the parent, aware of the major cause of death in children at parks? Strangulation. Kid’s Safety recommends: Remove hood and neck drawstrings from all children’s outerwear to avoid strangulation hazards.
Are you, the parent, aware of how many parents back over or drive over their toddlers? Too many. Look all around your car before starting. Be aware.
Being aware is the act of looking at and noticing the world around you. If you look around, you will become aware. If you talk to your child about what you are doing, you will teach awareness. Teaching awareness teaches safety.