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Better safe than sorry

For more ways to teach your children about road safety, click here.


Stairgates at the top and bottom are no brainers – so is making sure they’re actually closed when they need to be. (KerryMumKABOOM)

When opening an upstairs stair gate, always open it onto the landing (if possible). If it’s opened onto the stairs and has not been closed properly a child could lean on it and end up falling down the stairs. (becklesparkler)

Stairgates aren’t just for toddlers: a sleepy wrong turn during the night when going for a wee (or a disorientated mate on a sleep over) equals a broken neck. (I'm a lawyer - I have exaggerated concerns about harm befalling other people's children at our house!) No doubt it will also be useful in drunken scenarios in years to come...(Anchovy)

We have three definite bath rules: Check the water temperature before you get in.
Do not get in the bath until mummy or Daddy are there. And ALWAYS empty the toys out of the bath before they get out and then pull the plug as soon as they are out .(I remember a horrible story about a child who'd gone to get a toy out of the bath after bath time, fell in and drowned.) (3Ddonut)

Always run cold water first or both taps together when filling up the bath - NEVER hot first - just in case the kids get in when your back is turned. (DANCESwithALitFireworkArrrrrgh)

Never leave them alone at bath time for a second and make sure razors/scissors etc are out of reach. Teach them to always dry their hands before switching light on/off. (My2Weegirls)

Follow SIDS advice (am always shocked by people's resistance to it). (Astrophe)

Don’t let them run around with a lollipop (or indeed anything like that) in their mouth. (kindersurprise)

Always put sharp knives into the cutlery holder of the dishwasher blade downwards. (3littlesparklers)
If you don't have door stoppers to prevent slammed fingers, just put a towel over the top of the door. (Bundle)

The fire brigade visited a reception class I was teaching. They taught the children that if their clothes ever caught fire, they should "Stop, Drop, Roll"  - e.g. stand still, drop to the floor and roll around to put out the flames. (Littlefish)

Discuss with your older children what you'd all do if there was a fire in the house (how you would get out if upstairs, how would you get to mummy and daddy etc.) (bosch)

Teach your children how to react in a fire buy don’t let them practice… mine did (without my knowledge) and we had to replace a panel in the conservatory roof. (unknownrebelbang)

Remind friends/relatives without young children not to leave windows open – or, if they’re sash windows, to open the top half, not the bottom one. Always use the back of the hob when cooking and teach kids that ovens, radiators, kettle, light bulbs etc can be hot. (Mercy)
Let babies feel what 'hot' means (safely of course) and to blow on their own food if it feels hot. (mummymagic)

Turn your hot water thermostat down so that water is only hand hot; fasten bookcases to the wall; make sure your electrical wiring has modern RCD breakers fitted, and that your smoke detectors are working. (pigleto)

Communicate with your kids. I’ve taught mine: if the iron is out of the cupboard, even if no-one is actively using it, it still might be very hot. Never throw yourself in the bath - always dip a toe in to test, first.  Never answer the door without telling me first (and checking that I’ve heard!) (HuwEdwards)

Educate kids about safe internet use – and keep the computer in an open area where you can easily monitor its use. Tell them that no one should ever ask them to keep a secret from you and that if anyone does - no matter what they are told (threats etc.) - they should ALWAYS let you know and will never be in trouble for doing so. (BrownSuga)

My daughter once got caught up in the draw cord of a jacket. I found her twisting round, trying to escape, as the cord was getting tighter around her neck. I now keep things like scarves, skipping ropes etc in a locked cupboard. And if you have blinds, put a hook next to the window to loop the cord onto. (Mercy)

Treat vitamin pills like medicine - keep them out of sight (apparently adult vitamin tablets containing iron are a common cause of poisoning amongst children.) (Nightynight)

Be careful about leaving unplugged plugs on the floor – and lego – very painful if jumped on! (arabelladelahaye)

For all deaf parents of young kids - don't leave your hearing aid batteries in your handbag... they’ll find them and you’ll then spend the next 20 minutes in a blind panic, trying to remember how many batteries were there, poking around your child’s mouth - and, in my case, sending a photo via sms of the battery to a nanny friend to reassure me that my son couldn't have possibly swallowed anything that size…(CrookshanksinJimmyChoos)


The thing most likely to kill your child is the road. It’s non-negotiable bollocking if they put a foot on the road or don’t stop at the kerb from the time they can walk.  Teach them road safety by letting them take the lead - so stop at the kerb and ask, "It is safe to cross? You decide when we will cross." Talk about looking and listening. Sometimes it takes my two-year-old minutes before she decides it’s ok. But a few minutes delay is nothing compared to the alternative. (morningpaper)

If they’re newly out of the buggy, give them the choice of reins or a walking strap – they’ll feel like they’ve chosen and you’ll have peace of mind if they suddenly bolt off. (mumofmonsters)

Get out of the car and walk to places, so that they’ve lots of road awareness by the time they’re old enough to go out unaccompanied.  Explaining road safety isn’t enough. They need experience to be able to judge distances and car speeds. (Astrophe)

Teach children to check that cars have actually stopped when the green man flashes - some drivers don’t know what a red light means. And teach them that white lights on the BACK of a car mean it’s going backwards – especially useful in car parks. Use reflective bibs for the walk, scooter or cycle to school – it makes an amazing difference to a child’s visibility. (CaptainUnderpants )

Join up with the 'Traffic Club' and get some great books on road safety. (Mercy)

Be sparing with your use of yelling "stop" when you’re out - by refraining from doing it all the time, I know that if I yell at the top of my voice, my son will stop no matter what... (stealthsquiggle)

Use child locks in the car from the start - my daughter discovered she could open the door with her feet. If you've a toddler and a baby, put the toddler in the car first and take them out last (baby can't go anywhere, toddler can). (My2Weegirls )

When going out somewhere new, pick a huge landmark and say “If we lose each other see you back here.” (custardo)

With small children, put your name address and mobile number (NOT THEIR NAME) on a piece of (if sad like me, laminated) paper safety-pinned in their pocket. My kids think that all women are mummies, so I’ve told them that if they get lost they should ask a mummy WITH CHILDREN to call the number. (furcoatandnoknickers)

Write your mobile number on your child’s arm in magic marker if you are going somewhere busy.  (pigleto)

Once old enough make sure your children know their address, full name and parents’ full names.  And as soon as possible also get them to memorise your phone number. (mistlethrush)

I've taught my son that if he gets lost he must be a tree and put some roots into the ground right where he is. We will always come and find him no matter how long it takes but he must stay in one place. It sounds silly, but it seems to work. (Playmobil )

If we’re out and about, I tell my son to stay where he can see me. In my opinion, young children don't grasp the concept of staying where you can see them, but they do understand about staying where they can see you. (wannaBe)

Tell your children, “If you get lost in a shop do not leave the shop - Mummy and Daddy will never leave you behind and will always come looking for you. Tell a person working in the shop or a mummy with children in a buggy that you are lost.” (Anchovy)

If we’re going somewhere crowded, try and dress your child in a brightly coloured, easily described top, ideally (not easy as I have a son and daughter) in the same lurid colour: orange or turquoise are good. (Marina)

Don’t send you child to Legoland, as I did, in an eye catching, brightly coloured  t-shirt … it was like camouflage. (icod )
When I take my children out in crowds, I try to wear something bright, unusual and eye-catching at shoulder to head level. (Not that I'm advocating wearing a cyberman’s mask - a bright scarf or similar will do it.) If I am easy to spot in a crowd, I am more visible if we get separated. (tigermoth )

My daughter once went missing in a supermarket while with her gran. In the panic, I couldn’t remember what she was wearing. Now, if she’s going anywhere with someone else, I take a photo of her on my digital camera. That way, if she does go missing, I can give a good description. (lomond)

Establish a “Not Negotiable Stance” on safety issues right from the start - eg wearing seatbelts, bike helmets, holding hands on roads, stopping when you say stop. Never, ever compromise on these, and if they step out of line use your most special MonsterMummy voice, saved for occasions such as these.  Be a good role model eg, always wear your own seatbelt and wear a bike helmet. And don't talk on your phone while you drive. (Aaaargh! It’s not rocket science!) (Astrophe)

Don't show your fear of wasps, spiders etc. If you are calm, they will be too. (Doodledootoo)

Teach them to never touch a dog unless you have first asked its owner. Use 'Which?' to check the safety ratings for car seats, buggies and other safety products. (Astrophe)

If a dog approaches them, teach children to stand absolutely still, fold their arms and look away from the dog. (Doodledootoo)

Children need to take some risks so that they can develop and test their skills – so let them take controlled ones: e.g. let them go on the climbing frame without you standing at the bottom saying "careful" every 30 seconds. (kindersurprise)

Teach children about hazards instead of just protecting them from them - for example, my son knows exactly why he’s not allowed on our drive/ near the gate (busy road) and therefore has the common sense to extend it to equivalent situations at friends' houses. (stealthsquiggle)

My husband and I have a system that each of us is always responsible for the same child. That way, should something major happen – like a car accident - we’ll instinctively grab the relevant child and things should be smoother and less ambiguous.  (mistypeaks)
Don’t tell them that policemen will lock them up if they’re naughty; teach them that policemen are there to keep them safe and to help them. . (CaptainUnderpants

Be vigilant on holiday; don’t let your guard down just because you’re away. Before starting to relax, check fire exits, make sure smoke alarms are working, windows are safe, and that cleaning materials, sharp knives, plastic bags and any medication you’ve brought with you are out of children’s reach. (crayon)


Teaching children that they are in charge of their own bodies helps protect against sexual abuse. Let them decide who to give kisses and cuddles to, for instance - don't force them to kiss Grandma goodbye if they don't want to. Teach them which parts of the body are private and just for them. Tell them it is fine to shout "NO!" or to tell an adult to stop if they are touching them in a way that they don't like. (FrannyandZooey )

Try to create an atmosphere where your kids feel they can tell you their mistakes without you jumping down their throats. That way they’ll be more likely to tell you important things as they grow up, and less likely to keep 'bad' secrets. (Astrophe)

I’ve talked to my daughter about 'spidey sense' (a la Spiderman). Essentially, it’s that wrong feeling you get from some people, for no reason other than you don’t feel right. It might be a friend’s older brother, dad, mum, sister, granddad, uncle and may have no explanation. If she ever gets this feeling at a sleepover, no matter what time it is, she must ring me and I will think up an excuse to get her home. Far from her thinking I was a loon, she understood completely. (custardo)

Once your children are old enough to be left alone at home, make them aware of which neighbours they can go to in an emergency, and make sure they have their phone numbers along with your telephone number and other useful ones. (unknownrebelbang)

Teach them to yell, "help me/ I don't know this man/woman" if someone ever tries to take them, otherwise people might just think it's a child having a tantrum and politely look away. (gameboy)

Send teenagers to self-defence classes. (irises)

Make sure teenagers know that in an emergency they can reverse the charges. Reinforce the fact that - no matter what trouble they’re in - their safety comes first.

Give your children as much independence as you can manage and they will  be better able to judge situations and take responsibility for their personal well being in the long term. Keeping children TOO safe by relying on gadgets, and never letting them roam unsupervised, means they’re more likely to be clueless and vulnerable if a tricky situation does arise. (FrannyandZooey)

Last updated: over 3 years ago