Does your child know what to do in different emergency situations? Each family plan for each situation is different, but whatever plan you choose, make sure both you and your child know it by heart. See below for four examples of emergency situations that your early learner should be prepared for.
What to do if separated from parents or guardians
When leaving the house, repeat what your child should do if separated from you, and keep this plan consistent. Should they look for someone with a nametag in the store? Someone in a uniform? Should they look for a mom with kids in tow for help? Should they stay in one place? Does this plan vary by location, for instance inside a grocery store or at a theme park or public event? Rehearsing these situations in the car on the way to different events and locations can prepare your early learner for the unexpected.
What to do in case of fire
Make sure your early learner knows the fire safety plan for your household. Have a family fire drill at least once a month to remind early learners the multiple ways of leaving the house. Make sure your early learner knows that the priority is getting away from the fire and calling 911 once they are safe.
What to do if a stranger approaches
Does your child know to “No, Go, Yell, Tell” if approached by a stranger? Make sure your early learner knows that adults never ask children for help, nor do they ask children to disobey their parents. A great resource for parents and guardians to use for “stranger instruction” is the National Crime Prevention Council website (ncpc.org). Look up how to teach your early learner how to recognize “safe strangers” when “dangerous strangers” approach. Practicing scenarios, like in the case of fire safety, is also a great way to help early learners grow accustomed to what to do in unsafe situations.
Situations where an emergency number is needed
Finally, make sure your child knows how to unlock a smartphone. Not too long ago it was a lot simpler to teach children how to dial 911. The phone was usually in the same place, and had raised buttons to push to reach a number. Now, with locked smartphones to prevent children from making app purchases, most children are unable to dial the emergency number in needed. Double check to make sure your phone allows the dialing of an emergency number without unlocking the phone, and/or teach your early learner how to access it.
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