If you’ve recently moved into a new neighborhood, or plan to soon, it’s not a bad idea to start instilling some neighborhood safety methods into your young children’s routine. Even if you’ve lived in the same neighborhood for years, it’s never a bad time to think about some methods to keep your children safe when playing in and exploring the neighborhood. Below, we’re listing some tips to help keep young children safe in the neighborhood.
Meet Your Neighbors
It’s so important to know who your neighbors are and make sure they know you. By making connections with those that live near you, you can help look out for one another and have an extra emergency contact who is just across the street. Try to make friends with other families that live near you so you can meet new friends for your kids. It’s also great to know who the people are who live around you to ensure safety.
Locate Bus Stops
If your child will be riding the bus to school, it is very important that you go find the bus stop together and figure out what the bus number is that your kid will be riding on. This will help prepare you and your child for those early mornings and gives you one less thing to worry about on the morning of their first day of school.
Teach Kids to Pay Attention When Playing Outside
It is important that your kids know to pay close attention to vehicular traffic when they are playing outside, walking on the sidewalk, or going for a bike ride. Teach your children how to properly use a crosswalk and to always look both ways before crossing the street. Also pay close attention when driving yourself and watch out for pedestrians to help set a positive example for when your kids begin driving themselves in the future.
Tell Kids to Always Check with You Before Going Anywhere
Hopefully, your child will start to make some friends around the neighborhood. Teach them to always check with you before they go anywhere with their friends and to never accept a ride from a stranger. It is important that you always are aware of your child’s whereabouts, even if they are staying within the neighborhood.
Memorize Personal Information and Phone Numbers
Ensure that your kids are aware of their first and last name, address, and your phone number. In the event that they get lost or need to find their way back to you, having this information memorized is vital. You could also write this information down on a card and have them carry it with them. Make sure your kids know not to give out this information to strangers or anyone who calls them.
Remind Your Kids That You Are Always Available to Help
Make sure that your kids know that you are always available to them and that they should call you if ever an adult makes them feel uncomfortable. Teach your kids about the dangers that can exist around them to help them become more “street smart."
Have an Emergency Plan
It is important to have an emergency plan in place that everyone in your family is aware of. Plan an emergency meet up spot within the neighborhood if ever you are separated from your family or someone gets lost. You can also map out a fire escape plan for your home, in the event of a house fire.
Set a Curfew
If your child is old enough to play in the neighborhood on their own, be sure to establish a curfew or time that they are supposed to be home by. By having clearly established boundaries, you can always know if your child is lost or in danger and quickly act to help them. It is definitely recommended that you have your child return home by night time and never let them play in the neighborhood without a friend or friends nearby.
Have Home Alone Rules
Once your child is old enough to be left at home alone, you should make sure to teach them how to remain safe when you aren’t there with them. Teach your child to keep all doors locked and to not answer the door for anyone. Also make sure to tell them to not share that they are home alone with any strangers who call the house or on social media. Having a home security system can also be an additional safety measure for kids who are left home alone.
Teach Siblings to Look Out For Each Other
If you have multiple kids, you should make sure that they are always looking out for one another and sticking together when you aren’t around. Having multiple kids can make it easier for you to allow them to play together because you’ll always know that they aren’t entirely alone. Teach older siblings to keep younger siblings safe by paying attention to their surroundings and following your rules.
Additional Neighborhood Safety Tips
- Get with your neighbors and organize a neighborhood group to help keep your surroundings and fellow neighbors safe. Plan to meet regularly to discuss any issues or changes that can be made. This can also help you network and connect more with those you live around.
- Ensure that the streets in your neighborhood are well lit. If there are any street lamps that aren’t working, be sure to contact the appropriate association to have it fixed.
- Keep your lawn well kept and look out for any poisonous plants or insects.
- When you leave town, be sure to keep your home locked up and make sure a trusted neighbor or friend knows so they can keep a watch on your home.
- Install a security system to keep your home extra safe when you’re out of town or when your kids are home alone.
Moving into a new neighborhood is super exciting but can be a bit intimidating for young children. Be sure to do everything you can to help smooth out this transition for your child so that they can make the most of their new surroundings. By instilling safety strategies in them from a young age, your kids are sure to make well thought out decisions and respect your rules as they grow older.
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