Giving Your Kid a Phone (And 8 Other Safety Precautions Every Parent Should Do)

Providing safety for our children is our parental duty. Your kids will find ways to get in trouble or danger even under a watchful eye. But, there will be a time when the coddling stops. A moment allowing them to become independent — hopefully they listened to your advice.

There are items we can buy and things we can teach them to adapt to the changing times. Whether it’s around the home, online, or when out and about you’ll want to know about these options.

It may come as a surprise but home is one of the most dangerous places for your kids. This is a simple numbers game: more time is spent at home, therefore, more accidents and dangers abound.

How can you keep them safe?

  • Show and tell – Spend time explaining the dangers of the home as you give them a tour. Point out dangers like an electric shock from wall sockets or fire from the stove. Help them understand not only how to avoid danger but why. 
  • Contacts – Help them understand and identify emergencies and the necessity of 9-1-1. Keep a list of close relatives they can contact if there is trouble. And, instruct them to never open the door to anyone they don’t completely know.
  • Security Alarm Relay suggests teaching kids the dangers of the yard such as with swimming pools, fire ants & stinging bugs, and respecting play rules. Home monitoring is a handy feature to keep an eye on the kids without imposing on their free time. Home security systems and rescue apps can greatly improve response times when in stressful moments.

Keeping Kids Safe Online

We no longer have the ability to “shut down” like in the past. Today, our mix of computers, phones, game consoles, online entertainment, and integrated apps let anyone get through. Supervision and monitoring Web activities, as noted by Angela, is the first step in keeping kids safe online.

What other strategies work?

  • Parental controls – Your kid’s curiosity will take them to many, strange places on the Web. You can’t stop it all, but you can deter these activities with parental controls. Controls are accessible through the router, device, browser, and profile. Begin with well-known sites and work your way through else using online tools and blacklists.
  • Humility – Yes, it’s entirely possible your child is the online bully. Their online activity can exacerbate tensions or have them accessing extreme websites, chats, or groups. Monitoring, as Angela mentioned, is necessary. But, also take time to explain the negatives of online bullying or get professional help before it’s too unchecked.
  • Script Blocking & Security – Use ad and script blocking browser plug-ins to prevent sites and code from displaying harmful images or infecting the device. Or, use antivirus software with online monitoring to stop attacks and misuse before the damage is done.

Keeping Kids Safe when Out and About

There are dangerous when out and about whether it’s down the road or a trip across the ocean. Luckily, most of those dangers are mitigated from what you’ve taught them around the home or at school. But…

How else can I keep them safe when traveling?

  • Phones and Familiarity – Take a moment to point out landmarks and memorable signs whenever stopping over at a new location. Hopefully, they’ll remain at your side but they could use their familiarity with the area to meet at a designated point if lost. Else, get your kid a phone (even if it’s one of the “dumb” phones) with your number, police, and relatives programmed in.
  • Don’t Rush – Haste makes waste, right? It also creates danger. Give yourself ample time while in transit, visiting, or traveling so you’re not stressing. Anxiety causes disorientation which leads to bad judgment calls. Make sure your kid isn’t feeling the stress, either, to prevent travel dangers.
  • By Your Side – Whether they’re a toddler or teen, keep them your side at all times. Yes, it’s hard getting your teen to go along with errands but add incentives to get them on board. Otherwise, designate responsibility to an older sibling (or the troop) to watch out for another.