No matter how old your child gets, as a parent, you’ll probably always feel protective over them. There will however come a time when you need to take a step back and give them their independence. Allow them to make their own decisions, take their own path and learn from their mistakes. But until that time comes, there are several ways you can help keep them safe.
Here are seven essential pieces of advice for how to protect your child:
1. Don’t Write Your Child’s Name On Their Belongings
Many parents label everything their child owns to make sure it comes back home with them after school. While understandable, this can be a dangerous habit. It gives a stranger access to this information. If someone walks up to your child and addresses them by their name, your child is more likely to trust them. If you want to make sure your child doesn’t lose their backpack, write your phone number on it instead.
2. Invent A Family Password
If a stranger tells your child, “Your mom can’t pick you up from school today so she sent me instead. Come with me, I’ll take you home.” Make sure your child knows what to do in this situation. The first thing they should say is “What are my parent’s names? And what is our family password?” Inventing a code phrase for emergency situations can help keep your child safe.
3. Install A Tracking App On Your Child’s Phone
While older children might not appreciate the invasion, installing a tracking app on your child’s phone can help keep them safe. You can monitor exactly where your child is at what time, along with the battery level on their phone. Check out the Life360 Locator here or the GPS Phone Tracker here.
4. Teach Your Child To Shout “I Don’t Know Him/Her!”
Teach your child what to do if they are ever grabbed by a stranger. Let them know that it is OK to kick, hit, bite and do whatever else they can do get away. Teach them to attract attention, even if they are scared. One way to do this is to keep shouting “I don’t know him/her! Help!”
5. Buy Your Child An Emergency Button
There are several different gadgets you can buy that come with an emergency button, including watches, key chains, bracelets and necklaces. If your child presses the button in an emergency situation, the signal is immediately received by the parents or the police. These devices also allow you to track your child’s location. Check them out here and here.
6. Teach Your Child Never To Let Strangers Know When They’re Home Alone
Whether you had to run to the neighbor’s house for a minute or you ran down the street for some groceries, teach your child never to let strangers know when you aren’t home. If they answer the phone and someone asks for you, tell your child to say you’re in the middle of something and ask for information to call back. If someone knocks at the door, make sure your child knows never to open to the door for a stranger, especially when you’re not home.
7. Tell Your Child To Avoid Meeting Online Friends In Person
This tip can help your children as they get older. Teach your child that a person they meet online may not be who they say they are. Make sure they understand how important it is to never give out information to strangers online, including their phone number, name or address. If your child has a social media account, make sure it’s set to private.