September is nationally known as Child Safety Month, with a push to educate parents about home, food, school and travel safety for children.
With Sept. 18-24 as Child Passenger Safety Week and National Seat Check Saturday on Sept. 24, Los Angeles’ annual Red CARpet Safety Event hosted by television actress/personality Ali Landry provides a fun family atmosphere to educate, inspire and give families the most cutting-edge information and up-close looks at the latest baby and toddler safety gear at Sony Pictures Commissary. Tickets can be purchased here.
For teen safety online, Common Sense Media instructs parents to disable all location-based applications on devices and social media (Facebook, Instagram, Kik and Snapchat) and teach kids how to recognize predatory behavior in online conversations. Questions such as “Where do you live?” and “What are you wearing?” are never appropriate. More from Common Sense Media about why parents should care about their kids’ online privacy is here.
As for protecting young children offline, Pattie Fitzgerald, author of kid-friendly safety books “No Tresspassing — This Is My Body!” and “Super Duper Safety School” and founder of Safely Ever After in Santa Monica, stresses the importance of starting conversations with children about “tricky people” right around the ages 3-4. “Over 90 percent of harm or abuse happens to kids by someone they know, not by a stranger. The concept of ‘tricky people’ works better because it teaches kids to be aware of people they know, don’t know or just know a little bit.” Children should walk to and from home, school or activities in groups without distraction from headphones or devices. If walking in groups is not possible for your child, Fitzgerald says to teach them to “Walk like a boss: head up, confident, eyes taking in your surroundings. Walk with a purpose. Don’t look like an easy target.” Fitzgerald also says that kids walking longer distances should have safe stops to duck into along their walk, like businesses, stores, etc.
Fitzgerald also reminds parents to educate their kids about habits of in-person predators. “Safe adults don’t ask kids for ‘help.’ If someone says don’t run, you should RUN. If someone says don’t yell, you should YELL.”
An additional resource for parents wanting to break the ice and talk about personal safety with young children is the Emmy-nominated TV series Ruby’s Studio on Netflix, created by The Mother Co.
Jill Simonian is a Parenting Lifestyle Contributor, appearing on CBS Los Angeles every Wednesday on News at 5pm and Friday mornings at 6:45am. Her personal blog is TheFabMom.com. Follow Jill on Twitter @jillsimonian and connect with her on Facebook.