The sad news today of a little missing boy found after going missing days ago really touched me. I cried as if I knew him-I wanted so much for him to be found safe. Why did it affect me so much?
Because I think every parent thought-could this of been my child?
The reports initially said that the little boy had let himself out of his house in the middle of the night. Although this has turned out not be true it has forced me to think about how safe my daughter is. Our children can be clever, devious, surprisingly clever and ingenious when it comes to getting what they want.
I’ve seen my daughter climb on to a radiator to get a sweet from the windowsill, I’ve seen her unbuckle her seatbelt and stand behind me and I’ve seen her switch the oven on and get her oven gloves on!
I think I’m quite a relaxed mum-I think the best way to learn is by experience. Obviously I protect my daughter from dangers that can cause her serious harm but I let her be as independent as I can-I’ll let her put the wrong shoe on the front foot, read a book upside down, struggle putting on her own jumper. I’ll sometimes watch her throw a tantrum because she can’t do something and then watch her delight as she realises she can.
My fundamental belief is the best way you can keep a child safe is by giving them the knowledge they need to make the right choices. Of course we’re all bound to get it wrong every now and again.
So what do we need to do to keep our children safe-children of any age
*Stranger danger-I’ve always found it odd when as proud parents we encourage our just talking children to say ‘hiya’ to everyone who might give them attention-then we have to re-teach stranger danger. It’s really important to make sure that they know how to keep themselves safe. And of course there is stranger danger online now too. How and what do we teach?
Remember Charlie Says?
The best advice I could find is on the Kidscape website-click to find out more.
Home safety-Make sure doors are locked and keys taken out of the door if your children are young. Keeps keys at close reach in case of fire.
Green Cross Code-Practice not preach the code so it becomes a behaviour. Talk about the importance of not using a mobile phone or texting while crossing the road. How many times have you seen someone crossing and texting who doesn’t even know you’re there?
- Find the safest place to cross with a clear view all around, away from parked cars, junctions, bends or the brow of a hill if possible. Explain to your child why it’s important to choose a place with a clear view.
- Holding hands with your child, show them how to stop on the kerb, look all around and listen for traffic before they cross.
- When there is no traffic coming, walk straight across (not diagonally) and keep looking and listening.
There’s danger everywhere but you can’t live life in a cocoon-all we do it make what we think are the best choices and as mums these will differ amongst us.
It’s really important that you know what limitations your child will have at a certain age-for example my little girl is three and although she’s very bright I need to be aware that sometimes she can get distracted. She is learning about road safety and I am trying to teach her that running in and out of the clothes rails in shops is not funny-she’s like a whippet a times.
There’s so much for her to learn-I don’t want her growing up frightened of everything.
I do want a savvy little girl who knows how to help keep herself safe.