It is said that when you become a parent, your whole perspective on life changes. You immediately become more selfless and some of the things that perhaps used to interest you – such as going out drinking – no longer have a place in your life. You also become much more protective, perhaps more than you have ever been before. This is only natural, as it is ingrained in our DNA to nurture our children and above all, keep them safe. Knowing just how to do this in the modern world, however, can be a bit of a minefield. It can sometimes feel as though there are so many dangers posed to our children these days that we don’t know where to begin. Many of us look fondly at the past, claiming that the world didn’t seem to be so dangerous back then. However, it is worth bearing in mind that perhaps the only reason why the world can seem a lot scarier these days is that we have greater access to news and a stricter justice system. Either way, it is worth taking a noted interest in your children’s safety, as there as so many bases you need to cover. The absolute last thing you want is to receive that dreaded phone call where you are told that your child has become seriously ill, or that they have hurt themselves in some way. But you can minimize the likelihood of this happening by taking precautions and educating your child about basic safety so you can both enjoy life in a carefree manner. Here are some of the most obvious ones you’ll need to tick off your list, and how you should go about approaching these issues with your child.
Bullying and self-esteem
Okay, so this one isn’t exactly an illness or a direct threat to your child’s life. But being a victim of bullying can have an immediate effect on your child’s wellbeing, which is arguably just as important. Bullying is, unfortunately, something that goes on in every school, and not every school is equipped to deal with it. That is why you need to be prepared to take matters into your own hands if your child is at risk of being bullied. Of course, a bully will go after anyone they think they can get a reaction from, so to prevent it in the first place, you need to make sure your child is not already vulnerable. This means ensuring that they are well socialized from a young age and that they have high self-esteem. Bullies pick up on signs of weakness, so sending your child to school with their head held high means that they are far less likely to be picked on. If the worse does happen and they do end up being bullied, encourage them to talk to you or another trusted family member about it. That way, the two of you can tackle the problem together.
The amount of parents who see swimming as a secondary skill these days is quite scary. Even if you have no intention of taking your child near open water, you never know when they could be exposed to it when you are not there, or later in life. Therefore it is imperative that they know how to swim, just in case they have an accident or find themselves in some difficulty. Book your child onto swimming lessons while they are still young – around age three, if it is possible. Even if you hate swimming or are afraid of water rest assured that they would be looked after in the pool by trained professionals. Lessons are relatively inexpensive, and they could end up saving your child’s life, so it is a worthy investment to make.
In the car
Children are impulsive when they are young, and they do not understand the risks associated with driving and being on the road. You may find yourself in a situation where your child is purposely trying to distract you from driving, or they are trying to exit the vehicle while it is moving (usually in the middle of a tantrum). Make sure your child knows that being in the car is not a game. Yes, car journeys can be fun, but you need to concentrate, and therefore you cannot give your child all your attention when you are driving. If your child does frequently try and get out of the car during transit, employ your vehicle’s child locks to make sure they stay put. You also need to make a point of checking what the law is in your state regarding children’s car seats. Typically, the law states that a child up to a certain height is legally required to use a car seat. If you are unsure of which one to buy and which accessories you need to go with it, visit a site such as Babyseats.reviews. Additionally, teach your child the importance of wearing their seatbelt. When they are very young, you will have to put it on for them, but once they are old enough get them to do it themselves. It is also worth teaching your kid about what the warning signs are when a driver is drunk, and let them know that they should never get into a car with someone they think may be intoxicated.
Against dangerous people
9.9 times out of 10, everyone your child comes into contact with will be a genuine, friendly person, with no ulterior motive whatsoever. However, we all hear stories on the news about children who have been attacked, abused or abducted by adults (and in some cases even by other children), so it is always worth teaching your child the importance of trusting their instincts. The idea of ‘stranger danger’ does still apply, but is a less common term now, as studies show that the person most likely to pose a threat to a child is someone who already knows them. However, the basic advice still stands. Teach your child that no one in your family keeps secrets from each other and that if someone does something bad and then asks them not to tell anyone, they are within their rights to ignore that request. If your child is approached by someone in a manner they are not comfortable with, tell them that they don’t always have to be polite – and if the person in question tries to touch or grab them, they should scream and attract the attention of passers-by. Advise them that a mother with a child is usually a good option regarding who to seek help from, should they feel as though they need it. But the most important thing to teach your child is to trust their instincts. The point of ‘stranger danger’ is not to make a child suspicious of every new person they come across – this would only serve to make them very nervous individuals and possible overly dependent on you. But it is to help them realize when they could be in trouble, which in turn is what can help them live a more independent life. Children thrive off of knowing that you trust them, so by instilling these values in your kids you can breathe easy even when they are out of your sight. Every parent deserves to be able to relax from time to time, so by teaching your child these vital safety rules you can rest assured that they are unlikely to come to any harm.