I was discussing with my wife some of the trips and experiences we had had with the kids over the summer recently and
trying to figure out what we would plan for next year. As it almost
always does in one shape or form in a survivalist household, the issue of safety came up and we discussed summer tips for the
kids as a review. Since we were talking about it, I figured I'd write them
down as a reminder for everyone else too.
- Check first and check in after. Before your kids go somewhere they should be checking in
with an adult. When they get to where they are going and when they get back,
have them check in again.
Communication is simple and really helps maintain overall security! How many
times have you seen
folks in a public park scurrying around yelling "I don't know where they went!" ? I don't have a problem with
my kids going on their own and doing things. Giving them other experiences a
nd letting them develop independence is
half of why we go places including camping, but my kids know that they had better check in no matter what. Besides what
are those FRS radios for anyway if not to check in when they get to the creek or the ridge on the North side of camp?
- Take a friend you'll have more fun! When your kids go somewhere have them take a sibling or a friend.
Have them go to the bathroom in pairs, go to the playground in pairs, go around the campground in a group. A child in a
group is much less a target then a child alone, and they have more fun in groups than alone.
- Do not go to public restrooms alone. This is a danger spot that can be avoided. I'd rather my kids find a
bush than a public restroom, but when the public restroom is unavoidable, they are not to go alone. Someone goes with them,
a friend or an adult. I go and stand outside the door and don't
care who sees me. My kids know I'm there and can call if there is a problem and I'll go tearing in... bye bye problem.
- Never go to malls, movies, arcades or parks alone either. I let my oldest (13yrs.) kid go to the mall in town for
the movies but he is to stick with friends and never go or be alone.
It kind of goes with #2 above but we make it a separate rule in our house because these places have become
especially unsafe in today's world and we want to reinforce alone you're MUCH more vulnerable stick with the herd!
Matter of fact my kid's friends sometimes call me "psycho dad" or "herd man" which
does not make my own kids real happy, but I figure that telling everybody what my expectations are helps my kids.
- Don't be tricked by fun and gifts! Never- EVER be tricked by fun and gifts. I asked a friend at work,
that my kids had never seen, to drive by my house this summer and try to lure my kids into
their car with chocolate (my kids are crazy for it and we give them very little!). It didn't work, thank God,
but practice for kids is required just like for adults. War has said a million times - "it doesn't work
if you haven't tried it." That's true for adults and for kids - its
true for solar energy or for kid's safety.
Ask a friend to give it a try and make sure your lessons are sinking in!
- Stay safer by locking your door, not opening it except for someone
you are comfortable with, and not giving any
info over the phone. For adults, this is a "no brainer."
For kids, this takes some reinforcement, don't answer the door, don't answer the phone, and if you do,
don't reveal any information. We've tries this with folks from work and
from the neighborhood too. Call and try
to get information from a child at home alone. A thirteen year old might just tell you everything there is to know about
your family, where you work, where you bank, where they go to school. If I'm a 'shoulder rubber' social info gatherer,
I'll have all I need after a 10 minute conversation with a young teenager.
We had an incident at the IC this past summer
where a young Rubie was giving some personal information about herself and her family to another young girl her age
at a swimming hole and one of the adult supervisors intervened. They were very young, and there was no harm done, BUT,
that is NOT what we want to be teaching our young people. The less info you give out, the safer you are.
- Don't panic if you get lost Panic, like fear, is the mind killer to borrow a phrase. ID the best resource
you have to help you, a cop maybe, a security guard,
a store, a signpost with a map. Don't go anywhere alone with anyone but ask them to help you
get back to where you need to be. It's not like you where blindfolded and
driven to another part of the state.
Your parents will be scrambling to find you as soon as you miss the check-in
so stay calm.
- Be careful where you play Water, abandoned buildings, busy
streets and deserted areas all
look like great places to explore and have fun.
They can also be dangerous so teach your children to assess the area they will be playing in to see if it is safe.
- Don't be confused by someone calling your name. I know many
names of kids in my neighborhood.
They have their names on their backpacks, on their coats,
and they wear team uniforms around with their names on them. I over hear names in the mall, parents calling them, etc.
Just because someone comes up to you and knows your name, if you don't know them, don't be fooled and back off.
- Watch out after dark. Darkness has its own set of dangers.
Use reflectors on your bikes or wear a
reflector wristband if you're walking around
the neighborhood or a campground at night. Use light sticks at night, they're cheap and the kids love 'em! At Rubie
events all kids are required to have a lit light stick after dark and it does make them much easier to spot!
- Don't go near a car. Don't get close to cars pulled up the
curb or in parking lots. I always tell my kids that there is no
reason an adult should need assistance from a young kid. Period. If they need instructions, or help and they are asking a
ten year old, something is wrong. Don't ride with ANYONE without checking it out first with your parents.
- Just say NO and get away. I listen to my kids and I believe what they tell me. I also tell them to listen to
themselves and trust their own feelings. Better to run
away from someone or something that is actually safe then to get into a dangerous situation. Trust your feelings
if it doesn't pass the "smell test" as we call it haul out of there and get away.
Survival is all about being prepared for any situation. It is also about
not giving out information about
ourselves or putting ourselves in dangerous situations, if possible.
We need to teach our children these skills as well. We do this for the next
generation! We do it for the kids!
Now. Get out there and practice (with your kids!)