When your job is to be suspicious and safety conscious, many of these things start to seem obvious, but I know that many of you may not have considered these things, and I’d hate to think that I might have failed to prevent a tragedy by assuming you already knew this stuff.
Take Your Keys or Your Kids
Never leave your kids alone in the car with the keys inside in the engine running, regardless of how cold or hot it is.
A meth-head looking to finance his next hit is sure to notice the driverless car running at the gas station. Unfortunately, he may not notice your kids in the back seat until he’s halfway to the next town, and in his drug-fueles paranoia, he may imagine your infant or toddler pointing him out to the Po-po, and feel compelled to eliminate your little witnesses.
If you can make your trip in under five minutes, then crack the windows, lock the doors, and take the keys. If you’re possibly gonna take longer, take your kids with you.
Don’t Leave Kids in Charge of Kids
Avoid trusting older children with the supervision of younger children.
Teens are notorious for neglecting their responsibilities to follow their hormonal urges. Younger kids tend to overestimate the intelligence and abilities of their charges, while underestimating how quickly and easily the little rascals can get themselves into dangerous situations.
Let’s face it, in most cases where you are considering leaving the kids with their older siblings, the trip isn’t that important, and you are just looking for convenience. Don’t risk your kids safety for your convenience. Schedule the trip for a time when you’ll be out of the house, or get on adult to watch them, because the alternative might be dead kids.
That said, adults who have had kids of their own are exponentially more likely to respect the gravity of the responsibility you are asking them to take on, but there are plenty of crappy parents in the world too, so choose carefully.
Never Assume Kids Are Safe
If you assume that your child is incapable of doing something or won’t do something that’s dangerous, curiosity might kill more than cats.
If you haven’t seen it yet, you will. Before you know its in their bag of tricks, little Tommy or Suzie slides a chair across the room to reach a treat put up high, or some such advancement in the parent-child arms race. While a cookie won’t kill them, that same trick could be the key to them accessing your gun, that drain cleaner that looks and smells like fruit juice, or some other hazard. A child’s curiosity and ingenuity can never be underestimated in regards to anything the might pose a safety hazard. The cost of being wrong is just too high.
Likewise, you can’t afford to trust them not to do something dangerous. Just as we all safely drive cars without consciously thinking about half of what we are doing, we often fail to consciously recognize daily hazards to our kids, because the danger of the situation is so obvious to us, or we just couldn’t imagine doing something that would make it dangerous. Kids don’t have that experience, and may not recognize the danger at all.
Loving Kids Isn’t Always a Good Thing
Don’t assume that just because on adult expresses a “love” for children that they are safe to leave with your children.
Pedophiles love children. Pedophiles choose professions which will give them access to children, and in which parents trust them to care for their children. Pedophiles are one of the few monsters in our world that are hated as much by criminal scum as they are by good people, so the only way they survive is by deceiving the world into thinking that they are good and trustworthy people.
Enlist The Help Of A Creep Detector
When dating, ask a trusted friend or family member to be back-up for the little voice in your head and your kids’ advocate.
If you’re a single parent who’s dating, beware of the effects loneliness can have on your judgement. Whether its hormones or hopeful denial, the mountainous disadvantages faced by a single parent in the dating pool can make it very difficult to accept that a rare, promising new love prospect might be good for you, but bad for your kids.
Keep in mind that most children who are abused in some way are victimized by someone in their own household, and this is often their parent’s new significant other. Whether they are just lousy parent material, or truly abusing your kids physically or sexually, your new lover has a vested interest in keeping you blissfully ignorant or in denial.
I hope that these tips were either obvious to you, or found you before it was too late to be helpful. If you have some suggestions for other tips, or find issue with what I’ve suggested, drop a comment below!