PlayItSafe-blog1When it comes to teaching kids about safety, there’s more to it than just hoping they learn. It takes proactive measures by every parent or guardian.

That’s why INB hosted “Play It Safe” events at each of its branches this month. As we were planning our events, our Riverton and Mt. Pulaski branch staffs took the time to point out some safety measures they want us all to share with the kids we love.

Mt. Pulaski’s Universal Banker Marcy Smock notes not only the importance of crossing the street, but the importance of paying attention when walking near school buses. “Not everyone stops for the STOP arm,” she says, “so kids need to always be aware of what’s going on around them when they’re near the bus.” In other words, don’t just walk out into the street assuming traffic has stopped.

Mt. Pulaski Teller Jody Bruce tells this harrowing story about traffic: “My daughter, Allie, and her friend were waiting for the bus, and the bus had stopped and put out the stop sign for them to cross. Luckily, Allie looks both ways ALWAYS, because a semi ignored the stopped school bus and stop sign. Neither would be here if they hadn’t looked. I am very thankful she followed that rule. She’s now passing that rule along to her own children.”

Safe Kids Worldwide adds to these tips about pedestrian safety:

  1. Put phones, headphones and devices down when crossing the street.
  2. Walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  3. Children under 10 need to cross the street with an adult because most kids can’t judge the speed and distance of oncoming cars until that age. 

From Real-World to Online Safety

Assistant Branch Manager Aimee Craft says “stranger danger” is as important in the online world as in the outside world. “In this day in age, online safety is very important for kids to know and they need to know it at a very young age because kids have access to many things while on their iPads, iPods and tablets.”

Because I’m mom to three teenagers/young adults, I know it’s important to continue to stress online safety even as our kids get older. They need to understand that something/someone that seems perfectly harmless could be a front and be something totally different. They need to know that the app they think deletes their posts after so many seconds, really doesn’t . . . once that photo or video is out there, it is out there for the world to see. They need to remember that anything they post can be screenshot and sent out everywhere! Something that seems fun and innocent to them at the time, can come back to haunt them later in life.

Here are more resources that offer suggestions on how to help your kids understand these safety issues:

It’s especially heartwarming to see a kid follow safety rules because, as a parent, it’s not only an affirmation that your teaching stuck, but also relief that our kids know how to take care of themselves!