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The other day I took both my preschooler and baby to one of the busiest grocery stores in our area. There are two popular stores side by side and there’s not a lot of parking. Cars are swarming everywhere and it always gives me a little anxiety with so much traffic around so many pedestrians. Family safety is always top of mind as we cross those busy streets and bring our groceries to our car!
I spent a minute explaining to my preschooler why we have to hold hands with mom or dad. Also, why we look both ways when we cross the street. After making a simple safety plan with him, he was able to understand and be a better helper when I’m getting the baby loaded in and out of the car.
The same weekend I heard our neighbor had had a small house fire and was so grateful they caught it early and everyone was safe. There was only smoke damage to deal with and some home elements to be replaced.
It hit me that we don’t have a family safety plan. Sure, Jacob and I know what to do in case of a family emergency. But our preschool son is old enough that he really needs to be a part of our safety plan and be informed of family safety!
We’re making a family night out of teaching him our emergency preparedness plan. Of course, we’ll review it frequently. Hopefully, a family emergency plan keeps us all safe and our child prepared.
Fire Safety Family Plan
There’s a lot to cover in a fire safety family plan, and it’s really important your whole family knows about the basics. Such as Stop! Drop! and Roll! Feeling doors to see if they are hot. What’s the best escape route for each area of the house. Getting down on floors and crawling out after they hear a smoke detector.
Check out government websites for full lists of items to review. Some things will be specific to your family and location. Several are general guidelines everyone should know.
Smoke Detectors and Fire Safety
But as a general guideline, make sure you have a plan and make sure you have working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors installed and working. Not only is it important, but It’s also the law! Did you know all states have legislation requiring smoke alarms? States like New York and New Jersey have legislation that just went or will go into effect that requires 10-year sealed battery alarms. Check the requirements in your state. https://www.firstalert.com/community/legislation/
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No more battery replacements for the life of the alarm and no late night low-battery chirps either. It lets you know when it’s time to replace with an end-of-life warning. It’s a 2-in-1 with protections against smoke and carbon monoxide. Plus, with voice alerts, you are told the type and location of the danger. That’s one smart alarm!
Safety Guidelines for Smoke Detectors
Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on every level and in every bedroom of your home.
Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms regularly.
Replace batteries every six months or upgrade to 10-year sealed battery alarms to eliminate the need for battery replacements for the life of the alarm.
Alarms don’t last forever, remember to replace your alarms at least every ten years
Disaster Preparedness Plan
Natural disasters can strike at any time. Here are several to prepare and discuss as a family in your disaster preparedness plan.
- Power outage.
Do you have a flashlight somewhere they can access and know how to use? It’s a good idea to keep one stashed somewhere in their room in case a power outage hits. In addition, if you live somewhere cold, I’d keep a blanket nearby too.
- Flood plan
Living in the desert with dirt that doesn’t understand how to absorb water has taught me flooding can happen fast! It’s a good idea to talk about your plan if something happens at home, at school, or while traveling.
- Earthquake drills
I lived right on a fault line growing up and remember these well. Make sure your kids know the safest areas to be. Practice getting into the doorway, under tables, away from glass, etc. Even if you aren’t on a fault line, I’d still make sure your family safety plan involves this.
Family Safety for Kids
- Have kids memorize parents names and phone numbers. If they get lost, this is an easy way to help them find where they need to be.
- Talk to them about stranger danger. I love that my kid is friendly, but helping him understand safety and the why behind stranger danger can make all the difference in protecting them.
- Talk about looking both ways. Practice holding hands when they are little. Make sure they know it’s not a time to look at your phone when you’re a teen. Too many tragedies happen with auto-pedestrian accidents. Make sure kids are aware and know to take crossing streets and paying attention to their surroundings seriously.
- Help them know where to get help if they get hurt. I broke my arm in second grade and I’m glad I knew where to turn for help. Some kids have no idea they should get help. Help them know when and where to turn if they are seriously hurt.
Family Saftey Knowledge for Kids
- Make sure they have early swim lessons that teach swimming. In Arizona, child drownings are the number one cause of child death. It’s terrifying and always tragic. Making sure kids know they aren’t allowed in pools is one small step. But having them learn to swim early and understand the dangers of the pool is really key.
- Walk through your home and teach them of the dangers of each area. I electrocuted myself as a preschooler just because I had no idea sticking a metal object into a socket could hurt me. Once your child is old enough to understand, it’s a quick thing to teach them about the dangers of electrocution, the stove, etc. Consequently, you should walk them through regular home items and help them understand what they should avoid.
- Intruder safety. May kids never experience this terror, but talking about where to hide, how to lock doors, how to stay quiet. etc. are important In my teaching years we did lockdown drills often with our students. Something similar should be talked about in your family safety plan.
General Family Safety Guidelines and tips
- Have a family code word. I just read a news report about an attempted abduction where the girl asked the man in the car for their family code word. Because he didn’t know it, she knew not to get in the car. What a brilliant, simple way to let your kids know someone is safe and someone they can trust.
- Put a reminder in your phone to regularly check smoke detectors, flashlight batteries, and emergency packs. Make sure they are still working and in good order at least twice a year.
- Keep an emergency kit with medicine for allergic reactions. I’ve seen a sibling have anaphylactic shock without any awareness of allergies. It’s terrifying! Be ready with emergency items and make sure you replace them when they expire.
- Review, repeat, and practice often. Keep these things top of mind so your kids know what to do.
If there’s anything else your family does as part of your family safety plan, please feel free to add it in the comments! Preparedness and knowledge are power, and you can never be too safe with your precious family!
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