Teaching General Safety Rules to Children


The the leading causes of unintentional fatal and non-fatal injury in children 1 to 9 years of age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include falls, motor vehicle traffic accidents, drownings and fires. Teaching your child age-appropriate, general rules about how to avoid these dangers and what she should do in an emergency could help her stay safe.

Motor Vehicle Traffic Accident Prevention

  • Teach your child that when he gets in the car, he needs to buckle up right away. Kids Health emphasizes that no matter how short the car ride and regardless of how fast the car is traveling, buckling up properly with a seat belt, booster seat or car seat is necessary. Another rule to teach your little one is that he must ride in in the back. The back seat, explains Kids Health, is simply the safest place for children 12 and under, no exceptions.

Drowning Prevention

  • Drowning is the second-highest leading cause of unintentional injury-related death after motor vehicle crashes, reports the CDC. Children 1 to 4 years old have the highest drowning rates, it adds, with most drownings in this age group happening at home.

    "Parents should teach children that the rule is to always ask permission to enter the water, whether it's the swimming pool, bathtub or eve a puddle," emphasizes Jennifer C. White of Starfish Aquatics Institute, a national Learn to Swim Provider for the Make a Splash national child-focused water safety initiative created by the USA Swimming Foundation. "An infant can be taught sign language to ask permission," adds White.

Fire Safety

  • Every family should have an escape plan in case of a fire, recommends Kids Health, and it's important for children to know some basic rules. Parents should teach their children to stay low to the floor if there is smoke, to never hide under a bed, and to never go back into a burning house for anything -- not even a pet. Another important rule for children, adds Kids Health, is to stop, drop and roll if their clothes catch on fire. This can be taught and practiced as part of a family fire drill.


  • Falls are the No. 1 cause for non-fatal injuries for kids of all ages, reports the CDC. Almost 2.8 million children are treated for injuries from falls in U.S. emergency rooms each year. One very important rule is to always wear a helmet when riding a bike or scooter or when skating, and to wear protective gear and pads when playing sports. Help prevent falls from trees and playground equipment by teaching your little one that she may only climb with permission from an adult and under supervision.


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