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Old Safety Rules Still Apply

by Lori Sciame | November 12th, 2013 | Elementary, Safety, Safety

safety signI have vivid memories of being kept safe by following a set of specific rules as a child.  My dad had made it his mission to protect me from every potential hazard, from stranger danger to fire hazards.  Even though times have changed dramatically since my own childhood, some safety rules for elementary children never go out of style.

The first rule that my dad drilled into my head: never get into a car or van with a stranger.  Little did I know, but this rule would be put to the test.  When I was six, a man actually tried to lure me into his vehicle with a bag of enticing candy.  Thank goodness my dad had been so forceful with his message.  I simply stomped my foot on the pavement and screamed, “no!” then I turned and ran as fast as I could away from this awful man.

Today, children still need to be taught to be leery of strangers.  Boys and girls should not go near a stranger’s vehicle, as they can be pulled in before even realizing what happened.  They should also never fall for the “I lost my puppy or kitten. Can you help me find her” trick.  Finally, they should never leave school with a person they don’t know, even if he or she claims to be a friend of mom or dad’s.

I also had water safety drilled into my head.  Drownings can and do happen.  Even if a child knows how to swim relatively well, he or she should always swim with a buddy.  In addition, parents should NEVER allow a child to be alone in the pool for any amount of time.  In a split second, a child can hit his or her head and end up unconscious under the water.  Maybe the old rule of waiting a half hour after eating to swim is outdated, but most water safety rules remain constant.

Just like drowning, fire still claims too many children’s lives.  My dad taught me to respect the power of fire, and children today need to understand its destructive power as well.  This means that caution needs to be taken around campfires and fireplaces.  And, children should not have access to matches or lighters.  Finally, teach a young child how to safely escape if his or her home catches fire.  A good way to do this is to visit a local fire department’s Survive Alive training facility.

A final safety rule my dad drummed into my head: don’t run with scissors!  Although this may sound silly, the concept of proper transport of dangerous items remains true today. Children tend to forget that sharp objects need to be handled carefully.  Everything from knives to tent stakes to shish kabob skewers can turn dangerous if a child fails to realize the potential for harm.  Always teach a child  to walk across a room with a sharp point turned downward.

As a child, I sometimes felt smothered by my dad’s rules; however, as a parent I now understand his vigilance.

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