Whether your first grader is heading to their first sleep-over or your middle-schooler starts getting rides to and from school with a friend’s older sibling, it’s never too early (or late) to talk about safety and how to make smart choices. Here are some things to consider!
Using Seat Belts for a Lifetime
It probably comes as no surprise that seat belts are still one of the most effective ways to prevent an injury and survive a car accident but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 47% of car accident deaths in 2017 involved unrestrained drivers and passengers.
When your child graduates out of a booster seat, it’s important that they continue to buckle up regardless of who’s car they’re riding in. While it might seem weird that there are still people who don’t wear seat belts, your child may be influenced by their peers to skip the seat belt. Remind your teen that even vehicles with airbags require the use of a seat belt. If your car is damaged in an accident you can get seriously injured even with a seat belt. So imagine the potential harm without one.
Be Alert as a Pedestrian
According to the most recent data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in 2016, one in every five children under 15 years old (who were killed in traffic accidents) were pedestrians.
Children are particularly vulnerable pedestrians because they are often too busy talking with friends, walking and looking at a mobile device, or are just unaware of their surroundings. Many children assume that drivers will see them crossing the street or walking along the curb in a quiet neighborhood, but that’s not always the case.
Stress the importance of looking both ways before crossing a street and making eye contact with a driver. Encourage your child to stay out of the street whenever possible and always to stay off their smartphone or mobile device every time they walk across an intersection.
Interacting With Dogs and Other Animals
It’s not uncommon of all ages to be animal lovers or come across dogs and other animals while playing outside or at a friend’s house. The CDC reports that there are approximately 2,400 dog attacks every day, and more than 50 percent of all bites happen to children.
While many people assume that dog bites come from a strange dog, over 75 percent of dog bites come from a dog the child knows. Teach your child how to interact with dogs safely and that they should always ask to pet a dog or other animals.
Other Things To Discuss
Every parent has a different plan for talking to kids about safety, making smart choices, and ways to avoid injuries, but here are a few more topics to consider.
- Alcohol and drug use
- Gun safety
- Handling harassment or bullies
- Wearing safety equipment during sports
Thinking about your child’s safety can be overwhelming, and it can be challenging to know what to talk about and when to do it, but keep in mind that it’s never too late (or too early) to discuss safety.
Donna Fitzgerald is an avid reader and writer. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors journaling, or enjoying time with her two daughters.