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Child-Safety Tips

Not-at-Home Child Safety Tips
Sometimes you leave a child home with a baby-sitter, sometimes you take the little one with you. Here are safety tips for these special situations.

Keeping Children Safe Away from Home
  • A child's fingerprints are a sure means of identification, and many organizations recommend that parents have children fingerprinted. Some police stations offer this service -- they make one set of prints that parents keep. Ask if this service is available in your area. Home fingerprinting kits are also available.

  • Make sure your children know your family's rules about talking to or accepting gifts or rides from strangers.Children love T-shirts, backpacks, tote bags, buttons, and other items on which their name is displayed. Unfortunately, such identification makes it easier for a stranger to greet a child by name, thus appearing to be a friend. Teach young children that someone who knows their name can still be a stranger to whom "stranger danger" rules apply. To be on the safe side, avoid having your child wear identity-revealing items.

  • Although it's not wise to have children wear clothing that reveals their name to strangers, they can carry an ID in an inconspicuous place when they go to a zoo, circus, or some other place where they might get lost. Attach a stick-on label listing the child's name and phone number inside a purse, tote bag, or a pocket.

  • When you take older children to a large, crowded place, such as a zoo or a ballpark, decide on a prearranged place where you will meet if you are accidentally separated. Agree to go directly to that location at a prearranged time or if you have failed to meet up after a certain length of time. Be very clear about the location.

  • For your child's safety when bicycling, insist on a helmet and identification including name, address, and phone number.

  • A child with a medical condition, such as diabetes, should always carry identification that includes medical condition, doctor's phone number, and details of medication or emergency treatment.
When the Baby's Home and You're Not
  • If you have young children and use babysitters, paste a name and address label near (or on) the telephone. Then the babysitter who knows you as "the lady across the road" but doesn't remember the street number of your house will have the full address right there if it's necessary to make an emergency call.

  • Give babysitters a tour of your house, including the location of your first-aid kit.

  • Write down instructions for babysitters; don't expect them to remember verbal instructions.

  • If you will be inaccessible while away, arrange to call and make sure the sitter has the phone number of a nearby friend or relative who can be contacted in case of an emergency.

  • Children should never reveal to callers that they are home alone. Teach them to tell phone callers that you can't come to the phone right now but if they'll give a number you will return their call.

  • Children old enough to answer the door should be able to see who's there, just as you do. Install a second peephole low enough for youngsters to use.
Now you should be familiar with the many important precautions to take -- at home and away -- to keep your children safe.