Is Your Child Safe? Take This Quiz to Find Out

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies

June is National Safety Month, Mom. Are your children safe? Although you can't control everything that happens, there are lots of things you can do to prepare your children for emergency and make your home and yard safe for play this summer.

Take this short quiz, and then check your answers to discover what steps you might need to take to protect your children from harm. It may be the most important few minutes you spend today.
  1. Is there anything in your garage that is unsafe and within your child's reach?
  2. Is there anything your yard that could be harmful when your child is playing?
  3. Does your child know who to call in an emergency and how to reach you at all times?
  4. Does your family have a fire exit plan that you've practiced?
  5. Is your child allowed to use the stove or oven when you are away?
  6. Does your child know basic first aid?
  7. Does your child know how to answer the phone when you're not home?
  8. Does your child know how to handle a stranger at the door?
  9. Do you have rules about having friends over when your child is home alone?
  10. Do you have rules for Internet use?
  11. Does your child know what to do if he becomes lost or separated from you in a public place?
  12. Does your child know what to do if approached by a stranger?
  13. Does your family have a secret code word or phrase?
Even if you feel confident about your answer to every question, double-check yourself with these safety precautions that could protect your child from danger.

1. Squat down (literally) and look at your garage from the vantage point of your youngest child who can walk. Make sure all potentially harmful items -- tools, poisonous substances, blades and sharp objects -- are out of a child's reach. Store ladders out of reach, or secure them to the wall horizontally, so they will not tempt your child to climb them. Keep your car locked to prevent your child from climbing inside, activating the garage door opener or knocking the car out of gear.

2. Use this Safety Checklist to make sure your yard is a safe haven for play.

3. Children should know to dial 911 in case of emergency. They should also know every possible phone number to reach you and important safety information about your home. Fill out and post a Contact and Safety Information form and post in a prominent location.

4. Create an escape route from every room of the house in case of fire. Practice escape routes with your children.

5. Children should be encouraged to never use the stove or oven without adult supervision. Post a list of snack no-cook snack ideas when they are home alone.

6. An older child in charge of himself or a younger child while parents are away should know basic first aid. First aid classes are often sponsored by YMCAs, hospitals, and community centers. Stock your cabinet with medical supplies and make sure your child knows how to appropriately use each item.

7. Practice how children should answer the phone and take messages. Coach them to say that you're not available instead of not at home.

8. Discuss under what circumstances your child is allowed to speak through the door or front window to a stranger and when – if ever – it is permissible to open the front door.

9. Establish rules for visitors. Make sure your child understands: Are friends allowed to visit at all? Must your child ask permission first? Is having more than one friend over okay? What about friends of the opposite sex? Consider signing a House Rules contract that includes consequences for breaking the rules.

10. Educate yourself and engage in honest discussion about the dangers of Internet predators. Monitor your child's Internet and texting. Spend as much time as possible online together to show your children proper behavior and rules. Know the 10 warning signs that your child is breaking online rules you've established.

11. According to the Center to Prevent Lost Children, 90% of all parents will experience an unplanned separation from a child at some point. Teach young children to recite their names, address, and phone number. If basic memorization is difficult for them, try singing the information to a familiar tune. Learn the new song together. Or use a temporary safety tattoo with vital contact information.
safety tatto

Temporary tattoos make it easy for kids to remember phone numbers. Photo courtesy of Safety Tat, LLC

12. Explain to your children when they are allowed to say no to adults. Help your children understand that they should never leave a public place with a stranger, no matter what. Have your children practice being loud if they feel threatened by a stranger. Also practice how to ask a policeman or other uniformed personnel for help if they need it. Teach your children what body parts are not okay for others to touch and train them to shout "Stop!" or "No!" if someone touches them in an off-limits place. Tell them never to go into a public bathroom alone.

13. Every family should have a code word or phrase. If an unfamiliar person has to pick up your child at an activity, she can use the code to show she's safe. This word can also mean "Help" if your child must call you in a frightening situation.

Every mom should keep a copy of The Busy Mom's Guide to a Happy, Organized Home easily accessible for quick answers to questions about managing your home and family safely and successfully. Winner of 2009 Mom's Choice Award for Best Family and Parenting Resource and a 2009 National Parenting Publications Honoree.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.