You keep your kids extra safe in your apartment. You’ve put safety covers over outlets, you’ve padded sharp edges, and you’ve removed any dangerous cleaning supplies out of arm's reach. But what do you do when the kids leave the apartment? There are other ways that you can teach your kids active safety while living in a close-knit community.
1. Have a Code Word: We don’t want to believe that any of our neighbors would hurt us, but the truth is, you never know. Strangers are strangers even if you live in the same building. To prevent intruders from entering your home, instruct your kids not to open the door unless the person on the other side knows the “code word”. Let everyone that you know that you trust what the code word is and tell your children. You can have it discreetly written off to the side if they forget. If anyone ever knocks on the door, tell your kids to ask for the code word first before opening. Change your code word as often as you feel needed.
2. Don’t Wander Around Alone: A lot has gone into providing a safe building, but it’s still best for kids to always be accompanied by a trusted adult. Kids are curious, and they like to explore. Give them the freedom to roam, but always have your eyes on them.
3. Play In Green Spaces: Kids are welcome to play outside. We want to see kids running around and getting exercise, but we want them to be safe when they do. Make sure that they understand where they are able to play in safe locations. Drill into their head to never run into the street or parking lot after a ball. Keeping kids playing in green spaces is much safer than playing on the pavement.
4. Set Meeting Spots If Lost: If there is ever any kind of emergency, designate meeting locations around the complex. Have a meeting spot if the child is lost, if there is a fire, a natural disaster, etc. Take them to the exact spot and make sure that they understand how to locate it if you aren’t there. Give them instructions on how to react in emergency situations.
5. Familiarize Them With Staff: Take them around to the leasing office and let them meet everyone who is on staff. If there ever is an emergency, your child will know who to go to for questions. Make sure that the staff also is familiar with your child and who are trusted members of your family.
6. Emergency 911 on Smartphones: Any smartphone can make an emergency call without a passcode. Click the home button once, and you’ll see on the bottom left “emergency”. From here you can make a 911 call. If you are incapacitated and your child needs to make the call, make sure they know how to access this on your phone.
It’s better to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to the safety of your child. Give them the freedom to live and be a kid, but also teach them ways to protect themselves. It’s an important part of living in a community. You may never know if one of your safety rules prevented a major catastrophe. As they grow older, they will appreciate the life lessons that you taught them and apply them in other areas of their life.
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