9 Things Every Child Should Know About Safety

It’s natural to want to protect your child from harm, but you can’t be by their side every moment of the day. It’s important they learn to take responsibility for their personal security and know how to stay safe when you’re not around. Teaching them these safety basics is a great start.

Keep your little owlets safe with our weekly newsletter
Sign up to get the latest family safety tips and product reviews.

By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

1. Use the buddy system

Don’t wait until your child is a tween to teach them there is safety in numbers. Even toddlers can be introduced to the buddy system and learn that they shouldn’t go anywhere alone.

Tip: Consider getting your child a wearable location device. These devices come in a range of prices and designs and are outfitted with GPS and other tracking technologies that can help you locate your child if they get lost.

2. Never give out passwords

Explain to your kids that you are the only person who should know their passwords. Remind them that giving out their passwords to others (even to friends) can have major ramifications, like someone taking over their social media or email accounts.

Tip: Teach your child how to create a strong password, or use a password manager and generator created especially for kids to ensure their passwords are hard to break.

3. When in doubt, use the family secret code

Create a family secret code, and teach your child that they should not leave a location with anyone who does not know it. Make the code something you, your kids, and their caregivers won’t easily forget, and practice using the code regularly.

Tip: If your child has a cellphone, create a secret text code they can send you to let you know they’re in an uncomfortable situation. Remind them to call 911 in an emergency.

4. Don’t open the door to strangers

Before you leave your child home alone, teach them basic home safety practices, starting with keeping the doors locked. Stress that they should never open your home’s door to someone they don’t recognize, and discuss which family and friends can be let into your home when you’re not there.

Tip: If you have a monitored home security system, teach your child how to arm and disarm the system. You might also consider positioning a security camera at the front door so your child can see who is outside without opening the door.

5. Trust your feelings

From a young age, teach your kids that trusting their gut could help keep them safe. Explain that when a situation or person doesn’t “feel right” there’s often a reason. If your child has a cellphone, remind them to use your family’s secret text code if they feel they can’t call you. You can also invest in a kids smartwatch with an SOS button that calls you directly, or download the Noonlight app to their phone for silent 911 calls.

Tip: Role-playing through various scenarios is a great way to prepare kids for emergencies and help them think about what to do should they feel uncomfortable.

6. Never keep “unsafe secrets”

It’s not uncommon for pedophiles and other criminals to tell a child to keep their activity secret. So it’s important to explain to your child the difference between “safe secrets” and “unsafe secrets,” and remind them they should never keep a secret that makes them feel uncomfortable.

Tip: Reassure your child that you support them, and they can tell you anything — even if they think you might get angry.

7. Call 911 in an emergency

There’s a good chance you’ve already told your child to call 911 in an emergency, but depending on their age and development, they might not know what constitutes a dangerous situation. Talk to your child about when they should call 911, then role-play to help them gain a better understanding. This is a good time to ensure your child can state their full name, age, and address.

Tip: Whether you have a home phone or not, it’s important your child knows how to call 911 from any cellphone in your house. Be sure they can do so without having to enter the cellphone’s passcode.

8. Beware of identity theft

Although identity theft seems like a grown-up problem, it happens to kids too. Kids don’t think twice about posting information like their date of birth, year of graduation, or hometown to their online profiles. Sit down with your child, check their online activity for identifying information, and have them delete it.

Tip: Instead of telling your kids they aren’t allowed to post personal identifying information, explain why it’s a bad idea and they may be more likely to comply.

9. Go to the neighborhood safe house

Identify a neighborhood “safe house,” which is a house your child can go to if they are feeling scared or need help and you’re not home. Make sure your child knows how to get there and, most importantly, that they feel comfortable with the family who lives in the house. Be sure to provide the homeowners with your contact information.

Tip: If you don’t already have one, create a home escape plan, and use the neighborhood safe house as the place your family will meet during an emergency.

Final word

How you go about teaching these safety skills, and your child’s ability to understand and practice them, depends on factors like their age, developmental level, and maturity. The important thing is to start introducing them now so your child will feel more safe and secure when you’re not by their side. 

Related articles on SafeWise


Compare the best child safety products

Product
Price
Specs
Standout feature
Learn more
Best booster seat
britax highpoint booster seatBritax Highpoint
For kids up to 120 lbs. 3 layers of side-impact protection
Best kids GPS tracker
AngelSense_Product_ImageAngelSense Kids GPS Tracker
AngelCall two-way voiceListen-in function
Best kids phone
Gabb Z2 kids phoneGabb Z2
Unlimited talk and textGPS tracking
Best kids smartwatch
TickTalk 4 Kids SmartwatchTickTalk 4
Two-way voice and messagingUp to 53 parent-approved contacts
Best parental control app
bark logo, words with barking dog illustrationBark
Requires iOS 11 or Android 5 and upMonitors 24 social networks
Best kids bike helmet
product image of Bell kids bike helmetBell Sidetrack Child Helmet
47–57 cm. head circumferenceEasy-to-adjust tri-glide strap sliders

Amazon.com list price as of post date. Price and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. SafeWise.com uses paid Amazon links. 

Alexia Chianis
Written by
Alexia Chianis
Wanderlust junky and mom of two, Alexia is a former police officer and U.S. Army Captain who draws on her experiences to write about a myriad of safety topics.

Recent Articles

Large craftsman style house at twilight with lights on
Best Home Security Systems of 2022
After hundreds of hours of tests and research, plus a combined 50+ years of experience,...
beautiful mountain river scene at sunrise bc canada
The Best Home Security Systems in Canada
Find the best home alarm system to protect your house. We looked at price, features,...
boy and dog opening cabinet
Best Pet-Friendly Home Security Systems
The best pet-friendly home security systems keep your furry friends happy and safe with advanced...
couple sitting on floor with moving boxes and a dog
Best Home Security Systems for Renters
These renter-friendly home security systems keep your house or apartment safe and require less commitment...