Here are some tips on how you can help kids of all ages develop good safety habits in the home.
Come up a single code word for your kids that they are required to get from anyone — both strangers and familiar faces — who says they are here because Mom or Dad sent them. And practice it.
If your child is ever home alone, talk to a neighbor you trust about being a resource for them in the case of emergency.
Sound the Alarm
Show them how to arm your monitored alarm system so they can do that the moment they get home. Make sure they know what the smoke or security alarm sounds like and what to do when a central station operator calls. Your child should also know how to disarm the alarm, should it go off on accident. At the very least, teach them how to use the panic button.
Be sure to stress that sensitive information like passwords, PIN numbers, and code words stay in the family, and are never given out to friends.
Practice emergency scenarios as a family. Doing occasional drills is a great way for kids to remember what to do in fire and burglary situations and stranger encounters.
Sometimes children think a stranger is simply someone who looks mean or scary, but many predators are good at making themselves seem friendly. Be sure kids understand exactly what makes somebody a stranger.
Your child knows to call 911 in an emergency, but depending on their age and development, they might not know what constitutes one. Talk to them about the various 911 situations.
If burglars find out your kid is home alone, your house becomes a target. Instruct them to never answer the door and teach them appropriate responses for when a phone caller asks, “are your parents home?”
Kids often don’t stop to think about what they reveal on social media, including identifying info that could put them or your home at risk. Remind them never to post online that they’re home alone or going out of town. Have them refrain from posting vacation updates or photos until after the family returns home.
Teens can be a great help in teaching, and can encourage younger siblings to remember and practice family safety rules.