Protect children from dangers and raise their awareness

Children do not yet have a strong awareness of dangers. Therefore, it is important to avoid accidents while playing and romping as far as possible by being attentive.

Many children are not yet aware of the dangers around them; Pixabay.com © Pezibear (CC0 1.0)

Putting your own children in the care of strangers is not an easy step for many parents, but it is often a necessary one when both parents are working. The range of care today extends from kindergartens and child minders to private caregivers who bring their own experience and training with them. Even in the private environment, children can get hurt or put themselves in danger, because within a few seconds or minutes, mishaps or accidents can already happen.

However, this does not mean that parents have to become overly cautious and not allow their children to do anything at all. Because depending on the age range, boys and girls learn more and more what they can and cannot do and where their own limits are reached. With awareness-raising, training and intensive communication, children learn how to protect themselves and parents can let them play with peace of mind.

Household and garden

Most accidents and injuries among children take place at home, in the household and during leisure activities in the garden. This is where children spend a lot of time, playing, spending their afternoons outdoors or within their own four walls, often using anything they can get their hands on. According to the KiGGS study on the health of children and adolescents in Germany, the greatest risk comes from accidental injuries, with around 15.5 percent of 1- to 17-year-olds having received medical treatment for the consequences within 12 months, with boys more frequently affected by accidents. Over 43 percent of accidents occur in the private sphere.

Protect children from dangers and raise their awareness

But that alone is no cause for concern, because after all, children have a great urge to move and play, which wants and needs to be acted out. According to scientific findings, exercise is an important point for motor and mental development, self-confidence, social skills and a good ability to learn. Exercise is important for children and should be specifically encouraged.

Movement

So Prof lectures. Dr. Renate Zimmer, that with the exploration of the environment all senses sharpen and beyond that important experiences are stored. Using a tree trunk as a balancing exercise sharpens focus and concentration; those who search for a lot of space and move over wide areas can later make spatial distinctions more easily and even recognize letters better that are in principle only spatially different from one another.

Parents should support children’s urge to move; Pixabay.com © cocoparisienne (CC0 1.0)

How can the children’s urge to move be better controlled and how can parents limit the potential danger?? On the one hand, adults can childproof their households without turning them into fortresses. For example, additional protective measures such as oven guards can help prevent injuries, since reaching for pots and pans is part of many children’s explorations. Children fall and tumble because they are not yet able to control and assess their bodies and heights well. That’s why windows should have additional security features such as locks, and now there are models that lock the window even when it’s tilted. The socket is a classic source of danger and should therefore be provided with modern fuses for gluing or screwing. Greenstories.de provides further helpful tips for securing one’s own home and also shows how bathrooms and living rooms can be childproofed without having to accept restrictions.

However, it is not only objects and devices that prevent children from hurting themselves; hazard awareness and targeted education can also make children aware of the dangers at an early age and make them memorize them in the long term.

Safe toys and use

Children play and often use all the objects they can get their hands on. Toys help them understand their world, stimulate imagination or improve motor skills and communication. In the meantime, there is a wide range of different play options even for small children – from simple building blocks to complex sound and color games. The favorite cuddly toy is gladly taken to bed with them and many toys are also tested for taste. This is part of normal development, but to be on the safe side, toys should be checked before purchase.

This is done, for example, by means of the test marks and quality seals awarded by official bodies such as the CE mark (Communaute europeenne), without which toys may not be marketed in Germany. Many manufacturers rely on additional self-checks such as the German GS quality seal or the VDE test seal for electronic play equipment. Here’s how parents can minimize the dangers from the start.

Children do not always need new toys to spend their free time with. Often additions to existing play systems already help out, and children get bored more quickly if they are constantly expecting new gifts. Household objects such as pots, lids, cloths, cans, or even old catalogs and magazines are exciting playthings at toddler age, which parents can additionally control.

A few safety tips help with proper handling depending on age and toy:

  • Toys should be able to withstand the stresses and strains of play
  • Electrically operated playground equipment should not have more than 24 volts
  • The device should be flame-retardant
  • Individual and detachable components must be large enough for children under 3 years so that there is no risk of suffocation
  • There should be no danger from cables, ropes or corners

Strengthening hazard awareness

Children’s awareness of dangers does not develop until they are about four years old. Until then, parents and adults should keep dangerous objects out of reach and always keep an eye on the children. This means, for example, that at the age of five, a child already knows that he or she can fall from a tree, but he or she cannot yet do anything actively to prevent it. From around eight years of age, there is already an anticipatory awareness of danger that can prevent children from getting into situations that are too dangerous, such as climbing a tree that is too high, in this example.

It is not until the age of 14 that anticipatory and preventive awareness is fully developed. Until then, there may always be situations when children misjudge the danger or overestimate their own ability to get out of it. It helps if parents point out the dangers to their children at an early stage, even if they do not yet immediately internalize it. Clear rules and prohibitions also provide young children with a framework in which they at least perceive that certain objects or areas are not allowed. Encouraging independence is very important for the further development of hazard awareness. For this reason, children’s own activities should be supported and help should only be given when it is really necessary.

Source: Kindergesundheit.info

The role model is very important for development. What adults model is imitated and internalized by children, even unconsciously. For example, if a chair is placed against a wall to hang a picture, care should be taken and the backrest should be turned towards the wall to avoid accidents. Children also perceive crossing the street with prior glances and react in the same way when walking alone.

Awareness on the Internet

However, the dangers are not only to be found during play; children should also be made aware of dangerous situations on the Internet at an early age. Nowadays, even six- to seven-year-olds sometimes own a smartphone and use computers for their homework, games and surfing the Internet, as BITKOM investigated in a comprehensive study.

Playing and chatting is everyday life for most children; Pixabay.com © TanjaO (CC0 1.0)

Social networks are widespread and heavily used among most teens, with up to 45 percent using the networks daily for communication and sharing. A complete ban doesn’t always make sense, because often children’s social lifeline runs through mobile devices and the Internet, from dating to discussions and relationships. The Klicksafe initiative offers an Internet driving license on the Internet-ABC page, in which children learn in a playful way what they do on the Internet and where dangers can occur.

Education and understanding are important to develop a foundation of trust with children and teens. After all, every child has a right to privacy and parents don’t always need to know all the details of their charges’ lives. But especially when it comes to data protection and sharing sensitive videos or photos, children should be sensitized, as cyber bullying and attacks on the Internet are unfortunately no longer a rarity. This can be done without strict monitoring, with parents and adults talking about the children’s experiences and, above all, remembering who they chat with or date virtually. Here’s how to respond appropriately if they get a strange feeling from certain people they talk to.

A few tips on cyber bullying can be found in this video:

As with many awareness activities, the earlier it is started, the better. Children grasp new concepts much more quickly through play than they do later in life, and just figuring out the new techniques, devices and programs helps them concentrate and helps them filter and process information. Parents can go on the Internet together with the child at the beginning, set some rules and explain all security risks. At a certain point, the child itself will explain and teach the parents a lot of things, thus providing additional insight into the private surfing of the children. More tips:

  • Checking privacy and settings. There are many web browsers with parental controls that block prohibited sites by user accounts
  • Accounts and profiles can be created and selected together in the beginning
  • Passwords should be complex and include numbers, special characters, upper and lower case letters
  • Confidential data such as name, address, age, photos and own videos do not belong in strange hands. Unknown persons should not be given access

*The information, tips and hints from this article do not claim to be complete or generally valid.

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