As night falls, our tactics for keeping our children safe change. By understanding safety tips for darker days, we become more aware of the risks that present themselves at night. Whether they’re out and about or simply playing in the neighborhood, knowing how to navigate in the dark is vital. In this blog, we’ll share key safety tips for both kids and parents, equipping families with the knowledge and strategies they need to feel secure after dark.
Tips for Kids
Let’s focus on essential safety tips for darker days tailored specifically for kids, helping them stay vigilant and secure during the nighttime hours.
Be Aware of the Surroundings
Children can heighten their awareness of their surroundings by identifying areas that are and are not well-lit. It’s essential for them to avoid using headphones, to be able to hear potential hazards such as approaching vehicles that can be harder to visually detect. Kids can also actively contribute to safety by promptly reporting any suspicious activities and sharing their concerns with a trusted adult.
Walk in Well Lit Areas
After identifying what areas are illuminated in the dark, stick to those areas. Avoid dark areas like alleyways and the backs of buildings. Visibility is key when it comes to safety at night.
Be with a Group or Adult
Younger children should not be left unattended without an adult. However, while older kids can be left without immediate adult supervision, it still poses a concern during the darker months. Find ways that they could be with a group of their peers. For example, kids could meet each other first before walking the rest of the way to the bus stop.
Wear Reflective Clothing
Teenagers and older kids often engage in evening activities or part-time jobs that necessitate being out after dark. It’s crucial for them to wear reflective clothing to enhance visibility while walking, in addition to sticking to well-lit areas. Even a simple addition like a reflective hat can significantly improve their safety by ensuring they are easily spotted by motorists.
Trust the Gut
All kids and teens should trust their guts. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. And it’s best to stay safe. In those instances encourage them to do what’s needed in order to feel safe. Crossing the road, going into a nearby business, and calling a trusted adult are all ways they can remove themselves from an uncomfortable situation.
Safety Tips for Parents
Next, we’ll delve into crucial safety measures for parents, equipping them with the tools and knowledge to ensure their children’s well-being after dark.
Double Check Your Surroundings Before Driving
Many accidents that involve children and occur in the dark happen in or near the driveway. Injuries and fatalities can be avoided by thoroughly checking the surroundings before putting the car into reverse. This also goes for other high-risk areas like school zones. When at a home, children should be taught to stop playing and remove themselves from the driveway and street when someone is preparing to leave. Be sure to stress this information to teens who are driving.
Teach Children Emergency Contact Information
Children and teens should know their emergency contact information by heart. In the unfortunate case it’s needed, it’s best that they know how to contact their parents or other emergency services. It’s also a good idea to review various emergency scenarios and who should be contacted in different situations.
Provide Kids with Flashlights
Some kids and teens may find themselves needing to be in areas that are not well-lit. For example, walking to the bus stop or walking to a parent’s car after a sports practice. For their visibility, provide them with a flashlight to keep on hand. This will help them avoid walking hazards and increase visibility.
Address Stranger Danger
Due to decreased visibility and that criminals tend to be more active at night, teaching kids and teens about stranger danger is critical. They should know to never get into a vehicle with someone they don’t know- even if the person says they do. They should also know to walk confidently even if they’re scared, how to find help if they get lost, and that they should hand over valuables in the case of a mugging.
Teach Road Safety
Regardless of how grown children or teens are, ensure they know nighttime road safety. They should know how to properly cross the street and to make eye contact before stepping out to cross in front of a vehicle. They should also be aware that when there’s no sidewalk present, they need to walk on the right side of the road. That way oncoming traffic is very easy to see and avoid.
In the previous sections, we’ve covered valuable safety tips for darker days tailored for both kids and parents. By being aware of their surroundings, staying visible, and communicating openly, families can enjoy peace of mind during evening activities. Remember, a well-informed approach to nighttime safety can make all the difference in ensuring everyone’s well-being.
Sources: Institute for Childhood Preparedness, First Aid for Life, Childcare