Hi! It’s Jamie from Prepared-Housewives, and I’m here to discuss preparing a family safety plan with 10 ways to protect family life and make your family safer by the end of the year!
I have yet to meet parents that aren’t concerned about the safety of their children. Protecting children from whatever may be lurking around the corner just comes with being a Mom or Dad. Watching the news can leave you terrified of ever letting your children go outside, but since we can’t bubble wrap and hover over them forever, we have to find other ways to protect them.
The main question parents should be asking themselves when they are considering safety issues are:
- What do I want to keep my family safe from?
- How will I teach my kids?
- When do I plan on teaching them?
Every family is different and faces different issues. What may be one family’s main safety concern, may not even cross the mind of another family. So figure out first what’s important to you.
I went ahead and asked over 50 moms what suggestions they had for making families safe and here are their top 10 suggestions.
10 Ways to Protect Family Life
1- Drive Distraction Free
The #1 safety concern nearly every mom had was distracted drivers! Just last week while I was waiting to pick up my son from school, a boy was trying to cross the street and a teenager nearly plowed him over. Cars started honking to alert her, and she barely slammed on her brakes just in time.
I could probably share a new story every week (and so could you) about accidents caused or almost caused because people are texting, checking Facebook, doing their make-up, eating, and a myriad of other things while driving.
You may believe that you can multi-task, but you cannot multi-concentrate. Driving requires you to concentrate on the road, the other drivers, the conditions of the road & weather, plus the other people in the car (& in my case, the little kind that like to scream). To add texting or anything else that takes your concentration off an already multi-tasking activity should be stopped immediately!
2- Create an Emergency Plan
One of the best ways to help your family feel safe and secure is by having Emergency Plans in place. Discuss your families plans, or work on creating some.
Some emergency plans to consider could be:
- Fire Escape Plan
- Who & When to Call for Help
- A Meeting Place if You Get Split-Up
- A Disaster Plan
Everyone in the home, including children, should play a part in the family’s emergency plan. Remember to make the plan simple so everyone can remember the details. Also, don’t forget any important items you may need to include in your emergency kits.
3- Have a Way to Keep in Touch
My son came home extremely upset from school yesterday. I’ve never seen him like that before and it really worried me. When he was able to calm down enough he explained to me how a boy had been hurting him after school and he didn’t know what to do. He’s much smaller than the other kids and struggles with a learning disorder and speech delay, so it makes him an easy target. I want him to be able to get a hold of me if he ever is in trouble again, but I don’t feel he is ready for a cell phone. I immediately started searching out other options, and here are some I found.
My sister told me how this year she is sending her boys to school with walkie-talkies. As soon as they gather together after school they let her know they are leaving the school and are going to start walking home. She also wanted them to be able to get ahold of her if they are being bullied, if a teacher is being inappropriate, or even if a crazy guy with a gun showed up to their school. They make walkie-talkies that go several miles and since most families live close enough to their child’s school this could be an option.
Mariel also had some great ideas in her post about products that keep kids safe.
- Pocket Finder GPS tracker you can throw into their backpacks or pocket so you can locate them at anytime.
- One of my favorite ideas is the Gabb Wireless Phone. It’s an worry-free phone with only the crucial things a kid needs: talk, text, camera, music, clock, calculator, etc. Basically, no social media and internet. Yay!!!
4- Take a CPR / 1st Aid Class
If there was a true medical emergency would you know what to do? Sometimes the few minutes before an ambulance reaches your home are the most crucial ones, and what you know can make all the difference.
To be ready and to help keep your kids safe in a medical emergency, it’s smart to:
- Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the abdominal thrust procedure (Heimlich maneuver)
- Assemble a first aid kit with emergency instructions
- Keep important numbers near your phone such as poison control, your pediatrician, your work and cell phone numbers, and a neighbor or nearby relative
5- Talk About Stranger Danger
Will your kids jump into any car if they are offered candy? I’m pretty sure mine will, and the Stranger Danger talk is way over due. In my defense, I did try a few years ago, but it was an epic fail.
It’s time to dust off the Stranger Safety video and have another chat. I’ve actually thought of hiring out a few dads my kids don’t know and staging them in areas to see if my kids will run away, or take the bait. Whatever you do, don’t wait. You may even consider finding a self-defense class for kids in your area and signing them up, so they can learn how to defend themselves.
Another thing to think about when giving your speech is coming up with a family password or code for those times you truly need to send someone they don’t know to come get them. Come up with some phrase that your kids and you can remember in an emergency situation. Then if anyone comes up to your kids and says their mom needs help and they are supposed to get in that person’s car right now, they’ll know to run the other way if they don’t hear the code word.
6- Discuss Pornography & Sex (Before their friends do it for you!)
A lot of these ideas primarily discuss ways to protect family life, in a physical sense, but keeping them spiritually safe is just as important! With the average age of children being exposed to pornography and sexual situations getting younger by the day, choosing to not having discussions early and often is no longer an option. If you don’t talk about it, their school or friends will, and most likely they won’t be talking about abstinence.
So what is the best thing parents can do to protect their children from negative sexual influences? This question has been asked by many and for some great discussions and ideas you can check out this series – Family Conversations: Talking about Healthy Sexuality.
Another recommendation is the book – Good Pictures, Bad Pictures – this is a 5-step plan to help inoculate your child against pornography. I also recently purchased – How to Talk to Your Child About Sex – since I really don’t have any clue how to approach this subject (I’m still waiting for my parents to give me the sex talk)!
Anyways, as you can tell we are about to have all sorts of fun talks around here soon 😉
7- Put Internet Filters on Devices
There is no possible way to filter out everything bad that your kids may come in contact with, but it also doesn’t mean you should just give up and do nothing. The most important thing to do is help your children create a strong internal filter, by doing things like the suggestions mentioned above.
The next step is to not make things harder on them than necessary, and by that I mean don’t tempt them by allowing them to have unsupervised access to whatever, whenever they want. Everyone differs on this, but really take careful consideration into where your TV’s, Cell Phones, Computers, Games, and anything with the internet are located in your home and also who has access to them.
Also consider downloading a good internet filter. Many will block more than just porn; they can also filter out anything that deals with drugs, US gambling sites for real money, online gaming, inappropriate advertising, chatrooms, videos, and anything else you don’t want your child to be exposed to. A few of my favorites: Net Nanny, Bark, and Mobicip.
8- Teach Children About Gun Safety
Even if you don’t own a firearm your child needs to know about gun safety; you never know when they might come in contact with one.
I was surprised when I took my CHL course and the instructor (who is a cop), told us he never locks up his gun when he’s at home. He told us his kids just know not to touch it. My first thought was, “maybe your kids know, but what about their friends?”
I personally think if you feel you’re responsible enough to own a gun, you’re responsible enough to properly store it – especially away from kids. I wouldn’t let my husband even consider purchasing a handgun until fingerprint safes were bolted into our walls, and safes were installed into our cars.
Also, here is what the NRA has to say on gun safety:
It’s estimated that 42 percent of all U.S. homes have a firearm, and if you choose to have one, it’s your responsibility to know how to use it safely. Make sure it is not stored loaded with ammunition and lock it away in a safe place that is not accessible by children. Gun safes, locked cabinets and other options are available for secure storage.
Talking with children about the dangers of guns is extremely important, especially if your child comes into contact with a gun in someone else’s home. The National Rifle Association recommends that children should be taught simple gun safety at an early age. Teach them the safe response if they see a gun: “Stop! Don’t touch! Tell an adult! Leave the area!” [source: NRA].
9- Don’t Make Yourself a Target
Ugh. My car window was shattered… That’s what happens when you leave a purse out in plain sight. Even though I was parked at a school, with plenty of people around, it took less than 10 minutes for someone to break into my car, get to Wal-Mart, buy gas, and max out all my credit cards. If I had just taken the time to hide my purse it would have saved me at least $1000 worth of damage and a lot of time talking to police and attorneys.
Don’t be a target. Take precautions and do the little things that will help keep you and your family safe – lock doors, use an alarm, be aware of your surroundings, be aware of people acting strangely, if a place feels “wrong” or “off” somehow – leave!
10- Role-Play Different Scenarios
The last suggestion I have is to now set-up a time to review and role-play the things in your family safety plan!
Having a chance to practice your plan will help your children remember what you’ve talked about and give them a better understanding of what to do if a situation arises. By having a chance to role-play it may also bring up other issues and questions not previously considered or discussed.
One thing my kids enjoyed getting to role-play this year was our fire escape plan. They may not be able to set-up the ladder by themselves, but they at least know where it is stored if they ever needed to show a babysitter. It also helped them get over their fear of climbing down it!
Do You Have a Family Safety Plan?
I know sometimes it can be easy to go to extremes when talking about safety, but remember kids need to be kids. While we need to protect them and keep them safe, we also don’t want to scare them and make them fearful of the outside world. We really do live in a beautiful world with many amazing people. I hope you will be able to help them recognize all the good, while at the same time keeping them safe from the things that would hurt them.
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