5 Outdoor Play Safety Rules to Teach Your Child
How often does your child go outside to explore the great outdoors? Playing outdoors gives your curious tot the opportunity to learn more about nature while getting the exercise they need to develop and stay healthy. Encourage your child to play outdoors but make safety a top priority. Kids are naturally inquisitive, and sometimes their curiosity and dare-devil ways can get them into trouble. Here are five rules every child should know to play outside safely.
Teach them their boundaries
Establish boundaries and let them know where they can play and not play. Emphasize the importance of not wandering into the street – even if a ball or toy ends up there. Ask them to play in your backyard until they become more outdoor savvy. Gradually extend their boundaries when you think they’re ready. Keep an eye on them from a window at first and make sure they’re not venturing beyond their boundaries.
Teach them not to talk to strangers
It’s a parent’s worst nightmare. Your child climbs into a car with a stranger or is lured away by a passerby while playing outside. Most kids are naturally friendly and believe all humans are good. Advise them not to talk to people they don’t know when they’re playing outside. If an unfamiliar person approaches them or asks them to get into a car, tell them to run home immediately. Help them understand not all people that approach them, even ones that seem friendly, are good people. This is an outdoor play safety rule that could save their life.
Teach them not to put things in their mouth
Kids like to explore and try new things, and that includes eating brightly colored berries or plants. Encourage your child to interact with nature but tell them not to put an unfamiliar plant, leaf or berry in their mouth. Make sure your yard is free of poisonous plants and there are no toxic chemicals stored near areas your child plays. It sounds like common sense, but every year children die of accidental poisoning. Don’t let your child be one of them.
Even if your child rides a tricycle and hasn’t graduated to a two-wheel bike yet, get them in the habit of wearing a helmet when they’re riding any kind of bike or riding toy. This will make it easier to enforce the helmet rule once your child climbs on a big kids’ bike. Helmets reduce the risk of head injuries in kids by up to 90 percent. Who can argue with those statistics?
Check on them often
Even if your child knows the rules, check on them when they play outdoors to make sure they’re safe, staying within boundaries and following the rules you’ve established for playing outdoors. Set a timer to go off at a certain time so you’ll remember to check on them. Knowing they’re safe will make you feel better too.
Outdoor play is a chance for your child to explore, learn and develop motor skills. Establish outdoor play safety rules early and you’ll rest easier whenever they’re away from your watchful eye.