Weekly Feature


Safety Information for Kids

August 26, 2008
by Lindsey Chapman
The news is frequently filled with stories of brave kids who escaped house fires, called 911 to help a parent in trouble, or otherwise showed great poise in an emergency. Have you ever wondered if your kids would be able to do the same? We’ve found some Web sites that can help you teach your children how to react under pressure.

Being Ready

The National Crime Prevention Council says that knowing how to handle potential emergencies ahead of time can give kids the confidence they need to manage a problem when it actually occurs. Adults should consider a range of scenarios to discuss with their kids, including complex cases where they may have to dial 911, and even non-emergency cases like how to deal with a headache when they are alone.

Dialing 911

Sure, you know your kids need to be able to dial 911, but when are they old enough to understand they need to call for help in an emergency? Most kids can grasp the concept of 911 by the time they are 4 years old. At about 5 years old, children can comprehend that an adult may have a chronic condition like diabetes that could require them to call 911 if something serious happens.
Dialing 911 wasn’t always as simple as it is now. Years ago, people experiencing an emergency had to find the number for the fire department, police or other services they required. At least in the United States (the emergency contact system is different for many other countries), dialing one number has made requesting help much easier. KidsHealth offers advice about teaching children when, how and why to call 911.

Talking to Strangers

Many parents teach their children not to talk to strangers because of abduction fears. Interestingly, though, youngsters are often kidnapped by people they know, and those who become lost frequently just wander off. In any case, a child who becomes lost or is in danger must know how to find the “right” stranger for help. (Did you know that statistically speaking, it’s generally safer for a child to approach a woman instead of a man?) Help your child learn how to speak to adults with confidence using this advice from the Family Education Network.

Children must walk a fine line in recognizing whether someone is a good or a bad stranger. Kids generally recognize that someone they don’t know is a stranger. However, experts have found that many youth don’t comprehend that a stranger with malicious intent may not appear to be a mean person on the surface. In an interview with CNN, personal safety expert Francine Russell explained that parents need to teach their children to follow their instincts about a person who makes them uncomfortable, and to literally stay out of arm’s reach of them.

Fire Safety

Fire-wise kids should be aware of the ways to avoid fire danger at home. Teaching children not to play with matches, and to steer clear of the kitchen stove without an adult present, are just some simple ways to get started. The United States Fire Administration guides parents in teaching their kids how to react in the event of a house fire—especially making sure that they won’t be afraid of or hide from firefighters who may need to find them.

Most Recent Features