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The Informed Parent

Child Safety: Being Aware Of your Surroundings, Part 2

by Shanna R. Cox, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Published on Jul. 12, 2010

Take a look at these common scenarios to show your kids what’s going on around them.

Trip to the grocery store.

Check our who is in the parking lot and what the car next to yours looks like. Are there any people walking through the lot? Are there any solicitors? Each of these observations can be accompanied by a discussion about safety and active attention. This will lead to what to do if something is not right or becomes dangerous.

Trip to retail store or mall.

Repeat all of the above. But also notice from store to store if the people around you are the same or different. How close do you feel comfortable having someone in your personal space in a crowded situation? Most people would say an arm’s length away. Notice how people are carrying their things. Point out more and less secure ways of holding and looking in apurse or bag.

Trip to a park.

Be aware of the groups of people and what they are doing. Determine what the noise level is so that if there was an abrupt change, your child would recognize that change. Also, discuss what to do if someone needs help or if your child needs to leave a situation. What are the steps they can take and when should they take them?

Walk along a busy street and use a crosswalk.

Take note of your surroundings and what is in front and in back of you. When you come to the crosswalk, see if others are already waiting on the same or opposite side of the street. Notice the cars and if they seem to be alert to the traffic signals changing. Always look both ways before stepping into the road! When you cross, be familiar with the pace required to get to the other side and what the signal is doing.

In doing these tasks, talk proactively with your children. Illustrate to them how their senses would be altered if they were in the middle of a phone conversation or had earphones on in the above situations. Point out to them what information they could still gather and what they would miss. These are sure to be lessons they can build on and use throughout life!

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