Personal Safety Tips For Children

Children should know of safe places along their route where they can go if they feel unsafe: A trusted neighbor or other people, a store, library and so on.

By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | September 16, 2015

As young children go off to school and other activities, it is a good time to review personal safety guidelines and tips. These are but a few basic safety measures parents can go over with their kids.

• Children need to memorize their (1) full name, (2) address, (3) parents’ full name and phone numbers and (4) parents’ place of employment.
• Children need to be able to (1) dial long distance telephone numbers, (2) dial 9-1-1 and (3) how to use a pay phone. In New Jersey there is no charge to dial 9-1-1 from a pay phone. (See 9-1-1 New Jersey Coloring And Activity Book below)
• Teach children a secret code that only parents and children know. If someone tries to get the child to go with them, the person should give the child that secret code first.
• Children should stay in their yard unless parents give permission and know where they will be and who else will be there.
• Children should never go inside someone’s home unless a parent knows and has given prior permission.
• Children should understand that strangers do not always look scary; they can be any age, gender, race, size or occupation.
• Children should understand that not all people who know them and their family are good people; some could be bad.
• Children should never accept gifts, toys, candy or money without first getting permission from parents.
• Children should avoid deserted buildings, alleys and woods. Children should not take shortcuts without a parent’s knowledge and prior approval.
• Children should not go alone to movies, malls, playgrounds, public restrooms or through parking lots.
• Children should run in the opposite direction and yell if someone speaks to them from a vehicle.
• Children should not agree to a ‘secret’ without a parent’s approval.
• Children should understand that adults do not ask help from a child; this is a ploy used to get near a child or get them to go with them. Examples: “Could you help me look for my puppy?” “Can you test this computer game for me?”
• Children should report any suspicious vehicles by getting the license plate number. To avoid forgetting the number they can write it in the dirt or on a sidewalk with a stone.
• Children should be aware of safe places they could go if they feel unsafe.
• Children should understand that no person should touch them in an area that is normally covered with a bathing suit or swim trunks, unless it is during an appointment with their doctor.
• Children should stay in well-lit areas and return home before dark.
• Children that lose parents in a crowd can stoop to look for the parents’ legs or shoes.

Young children should learn not to go alone to movies, malls, playgrounds, public restrooms or through parking lots. Children should understand that “strangers” do not always look scary; they can be any age, gender, race, size or occupation.

Tips for Parents

• Don’t put a key around children’s necks so they are visible. The key tells anyone the child will be home alone.
• Don’t give other people’s children candies or gifts without first speaking with their parents.
• Don’t allow children to display their name on clothing, jewelry or other items.
• Don’t allow children to go with other adults unless first meeting them.
• Don’t ignore commercial vehicles on residential streets. Most city ordinances require the removal of commercial vehicles by the end of the day but may need notification.
• Rehearse “what if” with children: “What if a nice person offers them a ride home?” “What if they are lost at the mall?” “What if a friend dares them to hitchhike?” “What if someone asks them for help?”
• Try to prepare children with knowledge without making them fearful.

9-1-1 New Jersey Coloring And Activity Book

Keeping children safe is an ongoing challenge that every parent faces. Only parents know their children and their abilities enough to decide what is right for them. Can you think of other actions to take to keep children safe? We would love to hear from you.

*Some of these tips were from a workshop given by Maureen Kanka, the mother of Megan Kanka.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Danist Soh & Unsplash Under Flicker/CC License.
PHOTO: Courtesy of Pete Petrash & Unsplash Under Flicker/CC License.

Copyright © 2014 Jackie Saulmon Ramirez. All Rights Reserved.

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About Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

Jackie has volunteered for more than twenty years for children and family issues. Currently she writes for parents in the "Reminder" and "Parent Rap" Facebook page. If you are interested in receiving the "Reminder," send her a message.
This entry was posted in Parenting, Safety and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Personal Safety Tips For Children

  1. tric says:

    Well done. A really comprehensive list.


    • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

      Thank you, Tric. Some of these on the list came from Maureen Kanka. She worked to get Megan’s Law passed. She and I were Jefferson Award recipients at the same event. I so admired her strength.


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