Playing at home can be pretty magical for kids. Using their imagination, children can turn the kitchen into a three-star Michelin restaurant, the backyard into a packed sports arena, and the basement into an underground spy base. I can attest to this: when we were younger, my sisters and I were known for running our own hotel out on the back porch.
While the home is a magical place to play, it can also present some potential dangers. Children are vulnerable to a wide range of safety hazards at home, such as steep staircases and sockets charged with electricity. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, an estimated 46.8 million injuries requiring medical attention happen at home annually. Yikes!
Thankfully, injuries caused at home are often preventable, even when you’re not around to supervise. By setting up some fundamental safety rules for kids at home, it’s easy to help children stay safe around these risks.
So let’s take a look at ten basic safety rules for children at home that give them the freedom to play footloose and fancy free throughout the entire house.
1. Keep the Front Door Closed
The front door is one of the most important parts of any home. As both the entrance and the exit, we use it every single day. It does, however, pose some dangerous safety hazards when not closed properly.
Any passerby, from Sharlene down the street to a complete stranger, can enter your home if the front door is left open or unlocked. This endangers your family’s safety and puts your home at risk of theft and vandalism. An open front door can also be an escape route for those family members that aren’t prepared to safely explore the outside world on their own, like younger kids and pets.
Keeping the front door closed ensures that strangers can’t get in—and that young children and pets can’t get out. This is one of the most basic safety rules for kids, but can be easy to forget. As such, teach your kids that closing and locking the door after they enter will ensure that everyone inside remains safe and secure.
2. Never Open the Door for Strangers
Closing the front door prevents strangers from entering your home, but it doesn’t stop them from knocking. It’s a smart move to teach this safety rule for kids at home: never open the door for someone you don’t know. When your kids hear a knock at the door, they should ask for the person’s identity and get permission from a parent before they even consider opening the door.
Just as your kiddo shouldn’t open the door for strangers, they shouldn’t respond to texts from strangers or unknown phone numbers. That’s where Troomi Wireless comes in. Kid-friendly phones from Troomi feature an optional SafeListing™ feature that shields children from receiving unwanted messages. With this feature, only numbers that you place on your child’s safe list are able to contact them, ensuring that strangers and telemarketers are unable to jeopardize your kiddo’s safety.
Click here to learn a bit more!
3. Be Careful Around Cords
If your home is anything like mine, the floor is carpeted with cords. Thanks to all our devices (TVs, computers, chargers; oh my!), wires seem to be everywhere. While these cords keep us connected, they also put kids in danger of being shocked and tripping over stray wires.
Help your kids avoid electrical-related injuries by reminding them to stay aware around cords and wires. Try taking them on a little at-home field trip and showing them where all your house’s wires are. By getting a guided tour, they’ll have a better idea of what cords to avoid and where not to play.
Organizing your wires is a simple way to help your kids avoid this safety hazard. Bundles, tape, cord shorteners, cord protectors, and cable organizers are all nifty products that remove stray cords from the open floor, ultimately keeping your kids safe and giving you some much needed peace of mind.
4. Don’t Play in the Kitchen Without Supervision
The kitchen is many children’s favorite room in the house; after all, it’s where all the food is! However, the kitchen isn’t the safest place for kids to play. Between sharp knives, hot stoves, and heavy appliances like stand mixers, kids can get seriously hurt if they aren’t careful in the kitchen.
As such, teach your kids that they should never play in the kitchen without supervision.
With supervision, however, the kitchen can be a wonderful learning environment where kids can discover the joys of cooking. Learning how to prepare and serve food correctly and hygienically is an important skill that can benefit kids for the rest of their lives, from ages 19 to 90. I was so grateful that my mom had taught me the basics of cooking when I moved to college. While my roommates were eating Top Ramen every night, I was feasting on balanced and healthy meals.
5. Don’t Play in the Street
Although playing inside the house can be somewhat risky, it’s nothing compared to playing near the street. When children are playing out in the front yard, they may be tempted to enter the road to chase after a stray ball or avoid the tagger in an intense game of tag. If they aren’t careful, this can lead to serious injuries caused by speeding cars and zooming motorcycles.
As your kids prepare to play in the front yard, remind them to use extra caution around the street. They should never run into the road. If a ball does run into the street, they should ask for an adult’s help before they step into the road.
6. Be Aware in the Backyard
Although the backyard is infinitely safer than the front, it still poses some safety hazards that kids need to watch out for. Stray tree roots can trip children, standing water is easily slipped on, and plants like poison oak can make your kids itchy for days on end.
Instill in your children the importance of being aware as they play in the backyard. Show them how to look out for tree roots and sunken patches of lawn that are easily stumbled over. Additionally, backyard equipment like lawnmowers and barbecues should never be handled by younger children or older children (unless they have parent supervision).
7. Leave the Climbing to the Jungle Gym
For many kids, there’s nothing like the thrill of climbing. Pretending to be a monkey and scampering to the top of a tree feels great, but it certainly isn’t worth the risk of falling.
Kid’s bodies are still developing and, as a result, their bones are more susceptible to climbing-related injuries like sprains, cracks, and breaks. It’s dangerous to climb outside, but the risk is doubled when kids climb inside. It hurts to fall on hardwood or tile floors, and free-standing furniture like bookshelves could fall on children who try to climb them.
Thankfully these injuries are easily preventable with one simple safety rule for kids: just don’t climb!
8. Be Gentle with Your Pets
For many of us, our furry friends are the most beloved members of the family. Playing with animals is especially important for children as it teaches them necessary lessons about nurturing another living thing. When kids aren’t gentle with their pets, however, the animal could become agitated and act out in self-defense. This can result in children sustaining painful scratches and bites.
Teach your children to treat their animals with care. The golden rule applies to pets just as it does to people: if you want your pet to respect you, you must treat it gently and with respect.
9. Know Emergency Phone Numbers
Sometimes, an emergency happens when a parent isn’t home to help. In these situations, a phone call to emergency services can give your child the help they need. Make sure that your children know these important phone numbers:
- Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222
- Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- A parent’s cell phone number
Many phones, including those from Troomi, are preloaded with emergency numbers populating your child’s contacts. In the event that these numbers aren’t available in your child’s phone, write them on a piece of paper and place it somewhere easily accessible, like on the fridge. This ensures that your kids are always able to get help in case of a safety emergency.
10. Be Careful on the Computer
In today’s world, playtime often happens online. Just as kids should follow safety rules when playing in the living room, it’s important that they practice proper Internet safety rules for kids as they surf the web on the family computer. Remind them to exercise caution when clicking links, avoid sharing personal information online, and always get permission from a parent before logging on.
Inform your kids about the value of being cautious online. When Internet safety rules are followed, the computer can be an awesome way for kids to exercise their creativity, learn new things, and connect with faraway friends and family members.
Safety Rules Keep Your Kids Safe
As parents and teachers, we regularly stress the value of staying safe outside the home, but we should be sure to similarly emphasize the importance of following safety rules for kids at home. From unsecured cables to hefty kitchen appliances, danger lurks around every corner.
By following these ten basic safety rules for kids, however, children can have fun, exercise their creativity, and learn new things at home completely stress-free.