I had the scare of my lifetime when a very very independent little girl of mine decided that she would be nice and go on her own to the store down the road to get some gummies for breakfast, instead of waking up mom and dad. Although in her mind she was doing us a favor, waking up to an empty bed and no kid to be seen is quite possibly the most heart breaking, jaw dropping, and breathtaking thing you may ever (hopefully not) have to experience.
My first thoughts were obviously of was she kid napped, and then the fear that she could be somewhere hurt even simply the stairs of our apartment had she fell. Obviously a bit dramatic but that moment is something super horrifying. Luckly my husband has a very level head and threw on some clothes and ran out the door to look for her while I called the cops.
Lucky for us we live in a pretty safe neighborhood and people look out for one another. A young man out walking his dog came across her across the street in the field that backs up to our house, and called the mps and kept track of her until they came. And even stuck around until they had found us and knew she was in good hands. We didn't catch his name but God bless him!!
But this whole experience has really got me to thinking about how much quicker the problem could have been resolved or avoided and things our daughter at 3 should obviously know. We were very naive to these things as she hasn't started school and I assumed it's a lot of stuff she would be taught in preschool and kindergarten, but I am writing this blog to tell you, even if you think they are too young you should be making sure they know these things.
So here is my top 7 safety tips to teach your kids!! And it is never too soon!!
1. This one is a no brainer, but make sure all your doors are locked, unfortunately our house only had a very simple turn knob lock right at eye level that is far too easy to unlock and with the door being made of metal installing any additional lock would have been very difficult. After our incident we have told her that she is not to ever play with the lock it's there to keep people from coming in who don't belong in our house.
2. My next tip is to sit down and explain why leaving the house without an adult is not safe. You may want your children to remain naive to how scary the world can be, and for them to genuinely believe humans are good by nature, but not having a safe amount of fear can lead to bad situations. Children should know that telling their parents where they are going is for their safety not to be controlled even when they are teenager.
3. Another concern for me was what happens if you get outside and want to come back in? Our apartment the door locks automatically and you need a key or to be buzzed in. So we discussed how to get in if you get locked out. On our mailbox there are door bells. Ours happens to be at the top but obviously if your doorbell is rang you are gonna at least press the buzzer and let the door open so we told her it doesn't matter which button she can reach but to start ringing all of them until someone comes to the door and let's her back in. People aren't going to say no to a child that lives in the building needing help.
4. Knowing your neighbors. This is important because if you know them, they know you. I am not saying you have to be best friends but they should be able to recognize you in public places. I say this because had any of my neighbors seen her outside without one of us you can bet they would have known exactly where to take her!! It may be a hassle if you don't live in an apartment building where you constantly see your neighbors in passing, but is very important to go out and introduce yourselves at least once. And make sure you introduce your child to them so your child knows if a situation should arise they need an adult other than their parents these people live close by and can be of assistance.
5.Knowing important names. As a 3 year old she is fully capable of knowing both her first name and her last. We never really required her to know her last name wondering when she would even need it that I wouldn't be a foot away to provide it. But low and behold, when the officer asked for her last name so she could be taken back to her house she didn't know the response. I assumed her last name was something they really began to know in school. Now she knows if and is proud to tell everyone! Also important is to know parents actual names. As awkward as it may seem to have them call you by your full name, it is of vital importance they know it when asked.
5. Who they should go to if they are lost or need help. Our goal within the first couple weeks at our new location is to go to the local police station and introduce her to the cops, and have hem explain to her, that no matter what they are there to help. I think meeting the cops and having them show her they are good people is essential so when they are needed she won't fear them. Also a trip to the police station and to see the cars and stuff is just a fun outing.
7.Road Safety. This is something we have been drilling in her head since she could walk. To hold hands when crossing the street, and to look both ways for cars before crossing. We are extremely lucky that a tiny littler person crossing a road wasn't hit, and lucky that she was out wandering at an early hour when people weren't out and about as much. Make sure they know how to be safe when it comes to roads no matter what.
Well I hope this list has reached someone and brought help somewhere. I know it may all seem like common sense and we all think we are doing right by our children, but it certainly doesn't hurt to make sure your kid no matter their age knows what to do if an emergency situation occurs or they find themselves lost.