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This summer, teach your child about safety by setting 'family rules'

Like many families, yours may already have rules about bedtime, homework, chores and use of electronics by your child. How about using this summer to set family rules about personal safety? Not only does it teach your child good habits through your personal example but doing these as a family routine can safeguard your child without causing them excessive fear.

Here are some great ideas:
•    Your child should know his or her complete home address, telephone number including area code, and both parents’ first and last names.
•    If your child is old enough to answer the telephone, teach them how to dial 911.
•    Teach your child not to give out any personal information about themselves or their family (their name, address, school) over the phone, online or to a stranger without your permission.
•    Know your child’s routes to and from the playground, the pool, his or her best friends’ houses, etc. Insist that your child stick to that route, NO SHORTCUTS! That way, you’ll know where to start if you have to look for your child.
•    Teach your child to always get your permission before going anywhere with anyone, on foot or in a vehicle. This includes getting permission by calling home if plans change and they want to play at another friend’s house.
•    Teach your child not to approach a car that stops and asks for help or directions. If the car follows them or anyone gets out of the car and approaches them, teach them to run screaming and yelling as fast as they can to a safe place.

While you’re at it, begin a few family safety standards for the parents, too, this summer:

•    Learn the full names, addresses and telephone numbers of your child’s friends and parents.
•    Get to know the friends’ parents so you can learn their “family rules,” such as whether or not an adult or responsible older teen will be home when your child is there.

We wish you and your entire family a safe and fun summer this year!