How to Keep Your Kids Safe In Your Neighborhood

Remember in the olden days, when it seemed like every child was out playing in the street, and the whole world was one big playground? Alas, times have changed. People are more reluctant to let their children play outside now, even though the data shows that the world is safer than it was in the past. Perhaps it’s just easier to give a child a tablet device and have them sit in the living room, where you can keep an eye on them. But before you take that option, remember that there’s a long list of benefits to playing outside: it’s adventurous, it connects children with other kids, and it’s fun. Providing everything is kept safe, it’ll be beneficial to all! Below, we run through some tips to help you keep your children safe in the neighborhood.

Create a Fun Yard

create a fun yard

Being outside doesn’t necessarily mean leaving your property. If you create a fun yard area in front of your home, then your children will be able to play outside and also feel a part of the wider world. They can talk to other kids passing by, soak up the sunshine, and have a swell time, all without leaving your property. If you live on a busy road, then make sure you have a fence that’ll prevent the kids from leaving without your supervision.

Playing Sensibly With Other Kids

But of course, the best-case scenario is that you live on a relatively quiet road and that your children are able to leave your property and play with the other kids on the street. You can’t, however, just let them go off on their own, and hope that they’re going to get along well. Before you allow them the freedom to go and play, make sure they know how to play appropriately with other children. If they don’t, you could end up getting an angry visit from another parent. That would not be good for the peace and tranquility of the neighborhood.

Where to Play

kids playing at the end of the cul-de-sac

To your child’s eyes, the whole world might look like one big playground, but you know better than that. There’ll be some areas of your street and the wider community that are more conducive to safe play. For example, the quieter end of the street would make more sense, as there’ll be fewer cars and hazards than at, say, the end of the road that opens up to a busy road. And of course, if there’s a play area that’s overlooked by houses and is very close to your home, then that’s a good spot for play.

How Far They Can Go

Humans are natural adventurers. By the time we reach adulthood, however, most of our adventuring tendencies have been drilled out of us. In kids, this spirit is still strong! So they’re not going to be afraid of pushing boundaries and venturing beyond the next corner, or over the next road, just to see what’s on the other side. But of course, the further they venture from your home, the more danger they’ll be in. If they’re leaving your property, make sure they know how far they’re able to go. Everything will be much less stressful for you if you understand that they can only be a small radius from your home when you need to find them.

Neighborhood Dogs

neighborhood dog

The bulk of us love dogs, and the rate is even higher among children. And how could it be any other way? They’re big fluffy teddy bears that are bags of fun to play with. But of course, while most dogs are friendly, some are aggressive, and in any case, all can become so if they feel threatened. If there are dogs in your neighborhood, then make sure your child knows the correct way to interact with them. Alternatively, you may wish to impose a blanket “do not approach dogs when I’m not there” rule. A child – indeed, anyone – can suffer serious injuries after a dog bite, and it’s best not to take any chances. The same can be said for approaching any animal, even cats. Your child just wants to play, but the animal won’t know that.

Below are steps to take if someone you care about gets bitten by an unfamiliar animal.

Infographic Provided by Tracy Tiernan, Attorney at Law

Put Up Signs

drive like your kids live here sign

Most drivers are considerate when they drive through a suburban area, but this isn’t always the case. Some don’t slow down as much as they should. They would, however, most likely reduce their speed if they were prompted to do so. If drivers are moving too fast down your street, then consider putting up a sign that tells them there are children at play in the area. It’s an effective way to get people to change their behavior and make your neighborhood safer.

What to Do If Something Goes Wrong

You can do much to prevent bad things from happening, but that doesn’t mean there’s a zero percent chance of something going wrong. When it does, your children need to know what to do. Make sure they have your phone number and a fully charged phone when they leave to play. You should also stress that they should call as soon as something goes wrong and that they won’t be in trouble for whatever has happened. Some children don’t contact their parents because they think they’ve done something wrong; you can reassure them that the only important thing is that they’re kept safe.

Speak With Other Parents

parents talking

You’re a neighborhood of families, and that means there’s a whole network of other parents with whom you can work to keep your area safe. It all starts by speaking to them. If the children know each other, then so should the parents. By getting friendly with the other people on your street, you’ll create a neighborhood watch, of sorts. It’s much better to have multiple eyes on the kids playing outside rather than just your own.

Final Thoughts

There are real merits to playing outside for children, so give them the freedom to do so – but take the steps above to make sure that they’re kept safe.

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7 Comments

  1. You made some very good points. We were the house that kids came to when our kiddo was younger. We always knew where she was and parents knew we kept their kids safe.

    • Unfortunately that’s not always the case nowadays. It was the same when I was growing up – you knew your kid was going to be safe because the parents usually knew each other. My sons absolutely HATED it when they would go to spend the night at a friend’s house and I would get out of the car and go to the door and meet the parents, take a look inside, and exchange phone numbers. And yes – I did this till they were 16 years old (the eldest) and I still do it with the youngest one till he hits 16 in March lol!

      • I totally did that too! I was surprised how many parents never met me but let their kid come over to my house!

        • I always had the thought in the back of my head of what if something happens to them – like the jump off a bed or a roof (yes my kids are nuts like that) and end up with broken bones or a concussion … how is the other parent going to be able to get in touch with me to tell me where they were taken? If they have never been to my house and don’t have a phone number – my kid could end up dead in a morgue somewhere and I would never know! The kids tell me that I worry too much but hey – as a parent you are responsible for your child even when they aren’t with you — so that means knowing where they are and who they are with and having contact information. It’s just common sense in my opinion. When they wanted to dip out of the house and not tell me where they were going – I had an app on their phones and mine called Life360 that tracked their phones (which teenagers are NEVER without) and I could see exactly where they were.

          • LOVE Life360! We still have it on our phones…our 20 year old kept it on hers. And thank goodness…when she went off the road, we were able to send the tow truck directly to her!

          • LMAO!!! See? Great parenting minds think alike! Hubby and I still use ours too to track where we are in case of the very same thing – because he SUCKS at directions lol!

          • Hubby and I do the same thing although I keep more of an eye on him than he does me.

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