9 Ways To Teach Safety To Preschoolers

Three small children laying on a colorful rug and smiling at the camera

Teaching safety to preschoolers as early as possible is an essential part of their development, and it begins right at home. From understanding road safety to recognizing safety hazards at home, it's crucial to make sure that your child understands how to stay safe from dangerous situations.

Why Teaching Safety to Preschoolers Is Important

Even at a young age, children need to be aware of the basics of keeping themselves safe. Teaching safety tips to preschoolers can empower them to be responsible and make them feel secure in different environments. It's not about instilling fear but giving them the knowledge and confidence to protect themselves.

Tips for Teaching Safety To Younger Children

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Teaching safety to preschool children doesn't have to be a daunting task. By making safety lessons engaging and enjoyable, you can help your children internalize important concepts without overwhelming them. Here are some tips for how to teach kids about safety practices:

Use Games, Songs, and Role-Play

Children remember things and learn best when they are having fun. Creating games or using rhymes and songs that emphasize safety rules can turn a lesson into a joyful experience. Whether you’re pretending to cook safely in the kitchen or acting out how to respond to a stranger, these role-play sessions can help children learn abstract safety rules in a tangible and fun way.

Read Children's Books About Safety Together

Many children's books address safety topics in age-appropriate and engaging ways. Read these books together to spark conversations and questions, allowing you to provide further explanations and insights.

Involve Them in The Process

Let your children have a say in developing rules. By involving them in the process, they feel ownership and responsibility for following the rules they helped create.

Provide Positive Reinforcement

Praise and reward your child when they follow safety rules. Positive reinforcement not only boosts their confidence but also encourages them to continue practicing what they have learned.

Get the Right Child Safety Tools

Child safety mostly comes down to the right habits, boundaries, and training - but having the right tools can help. Physical safety products like helmets and floaties for swimming are nothing new. But digital safety tools have quickly grown in popularity with lots many innovative products making safety simpler for families. Products like protected home wifi routers or kids smartwatches are giving parents more tools than ever to help kids stay safe and secure in a digital world.

9 Ways to Teach Preschoolers About Safety

close up of a child and an adult holding hands

#1. Establish Personal Safety Rules

Children are naturally curious and love to explore. As part of establishing their own personal safety, help them understand the areas where they are allowed to play and the places that are off-limits. Whether it's specific rooms in the house, a neighbor's yard, or certain parts of a park or playground during outdoor play, defining these safety areas will help children understand their boundaries and feel secure.

Teach your child the importance of always staying with a trusted adult when outside the home. Make it clear that they should never wander off on their own and should always inform the supervising adult if they want to go somewhere, even if it's just a short distance away. Enforce consequences if these rules are broken, but be sure to help the child understand WHY the consequence is in place.

#2. Teach Preschool Children Basic Personal Information

Ensure that your child knows their name, parent's names, address, and a contact number for at least one of their parents. Practice this information together until your child can recall it easily. This is essential for keeping your child safe if they ever need help when you're not around.

#3. Teach Them How to Use a Kid-Friendly Communication Device

Investing in a child-friendly communication device like the a kids smartwatch keeps children and parents connected in a way that is easy and convenient for both kids and parents. The watch is tailor-made for little hands and offers a user-friendly design that young children find easy to use. 

Children can reach their parents with just one touch of a button, and parents can send messages or make calls to their children. The simple watch design ensures that even preschoolers can operate it without difficulty.

One significant safety feature is GPS tracking, which enables parents to track their child's location. Whether it's a trip to a friend's house, an after-school activity, or just playing in the neighborhood, knowing your child's whereabouts gives you peace of mind. 

#4. Teach Road and Pedestrian Safety Rules

According to the Children's Safety Network, around 600 children die from pedestrian-related injuries each year. Here are some ways to help children stay safe near roads.

  • Emphasize the importance of holding hands with a trusted adult or an older sibling when crossing the street.
  • Make sure your child knows to be careful when crossing the road. Teach them to stop, look left, then right, and then left again before crossing. Repeat this lesson often and practice with them until it becomes an automatic response.
  • Introduce children to the basic rules of the road—including traffic lights and signs—explaining what each color and symbol means. Use real-life examples during walks, or you can even create a mini traffic park at home using cardboard signs for safety rehearsals.
  • Show them where it's safe to walk and why they should always use sidewalks and crosswalks.

#5. Staying Safe at Home

Home safety is just as important as outdoor safety. While our homes are designed to be comfortable and secure spaces, they also contain numerous potential hazards, especially for young and curious children. Creating a safe environment at home involves more than just child-proofing; it requires actively teaching children about the potential dangers and how to avoid them.

Handling Sharp Objects

When it comes to sharp objects like scissors, knives, or other cutting tools, make sure children know that these are tools, not toys. Make sure they know these objects should only be used with adult supervision. Store them in a safe place, out of reach, and always handle them responsibly to set a good example.

Kitchen Hazards

The kitchen can be a particularly hazardous area when it comes to home safety. Hot stoves, ovens, and boiling liquids are all potential safety hazards for kids. Teaching children about these risks and establishing clear rules about the kitchen area can prevent accidents.

General Safety at Home

Beyond these specific areas, you should also talk to kids about general safety practices, like not running indoors, using furniture appropriately (not climbing on shelves, for example), regularly replacing smoke detectors, and other things you do at home to keep kids safe.

#6. Teach Water Safety

Water safety is another vital area of safety education that deserves attention, especially for families who spend time near pools, lakes, or beaches. Young children are naturally drawn to water, but without proper understanding and supervision, it can pose significant risks. In fact, drowning is the leading cause of injury death in children ages 1-4.

Establish clear rules around water areas, such as never going near water without a grown-up, not running near pools, and only swimming in designated areas. Consistency in enforcing these rules will help children internalize them. Teach children about the importance of using life jackets and other safety gear when near or in the water. Allow them to practice wearing them, so they feel comfortable.

#7. Teach Children About Stranger Danger

Stranger danger awareness is an important aspect of keeping children safe. The concept may seem simple to adults, but personal safety can be a complex issue for young children to grasp, so it's important to approach this topic thoughtfully and talk about it in a way that kids can relate to.

First and foremost, it's important to define what a "stranger" is to a child. You might explain that a stranger is someone they and their trusted family members don't know well. Make sure to clarify that not all strangers are bad or dangerous but that it's essential to be cautious.

Here's how you can expand on these lessons:

  • Teach Them to Recognize Trusted Adults: Help children identify who they can trust, such as parents, teachers, family friends, or other caregivers. Create a list or visual guide together so they have a clear understanding of who falls into this category.
  • Use Role-Playing to Practice Scenarios: Engage children in role-playing exercises where they can practice what to do if approached by a stranger. You can act as both the stranger and a trusted adult, allowing them to rehearse different responses.
  • Explain Safe and Unsafe Situations: Distinguish between situations where talking to strangers might be acceptable (e.g., a store clerk with a parent present) and when it's not (e.g., someone approaching them at a park without a parent nearby). Use real-life examples and discuss them together.
  • Use Appropriate Language When Discussing Private Parts: Make sure children know the name of the private parts on their bodies and teach them that strangers should not have physical contact in these areas. Help them develop the language skills to tell an adult if someone touches their private areas.
  • Teach Them Safe Responses: Educate children on how to respond if they feel unsafe or are approached by a stranger. This might include saying, "I need to find my parents," and then looking for a trusted adult, or if no one is around, going to a safe location like a school or store.

#8. Fire Safety and Emergency Plans

Sit down as a family and create a fire escape plan for your home. Designate specific escape routes and safe meeting points outside the home. Make sure everyone in the family understands the plan.

Be sure to practice the plan periodically so everyone remembers what to do in an actual emergency. Conduct fire drills as part of your home safety activities, simulating various scenarios, so children become comfortable with the plan.

Teach your children basic fire safety responses like "stop, drop, and roll" if their clothes catch fire or how to crawl under smoke. Emphasize the importance of getting out quickly and not going back inside for belongings.

You can teach older children how to call emergency services and what information they will need to provide. Practice these calls together, so they feel confident if they ever need to do it for real. For older school-aged children, consider giving them the responsibility of a smart device like an emergency phone or smartwatch with safety features that will allow them to contact emergency services if an adult isn't around.

#9. Encourage Open Communication

Teaching safety to preschoolers is an ongoing process that requires patience, creativity, and open communication. By making safety lessons engaging through storytelling, role-playing, and regular practice, parents can instill in their children a sense of responsibility and awareness.

Remember, safety education is not about adults instilling fear in kids; it's about empowering kids with the knowledge and confidence to act quickly and make wise decisions in various situations. For more information and tips on keeping kids safe, check out SafeKids.org.

Safety Starts at Home

These early safety lessons lay the foundation for a lifetime of safe practices, both at home and in the world around them. By implementing these eight ways to teach safety to preschoolers, parents and caregivers can help children grasp essential concepts while building trust and encouraging open communication. Teaching these principles will empower children with the skills and confidence they need to navigate life's many environments safely. And what's more valuable than knowing our children are equipped to protect themselves?