JoEllen Wilhoite

Angle Up

Safety Safari could save a child's life. Here are just a few topics Safety Safari covers:

What would your child do if he/she gets separated from you in a store? Are your kids protecting themselves online? Does your family have a meeting spot outside in case there’s a fire inside your home?

When I was a little girl feeling

When I was a little girl feeling uncomfortable, insecure, or frightened,

uncomfortable, insecure, or frightened,

I used to imagine my entire body inside a giant, clear bubble of protection. Nothing could get me and I was safe.

As I got a little older, I wondered, had I shared my giant bubble of protection with them, would my classmates’ house have burnt down, would my brother’s bullies have left him alone…? It’s often a helpless feeling to be a child trying to protect yourself and other children.

Childhood experiences certainly become more relevant after we have children of our own. We start to take, personally, the role that caring adults should have and realize that children have a vital need for nurturing, guidance, and support. As parents, caregivers and educators, we try to help young people make sound judgements when coping with danger or uncertainty, realizing that this important life skill will take them into adult life.

Resources are critical for a child’s success and safety education is an important aspect to include. Unfortunately, there is a lack of time spent on safety issues. Safety experts and organizations estimate that between 75 and 90 percent of tragedies could be avoided through better safety awareness and prevention. There’s a tendency to discuss safety measures only after a tragedy occurs rather than spending efforts and resources on prevention.

Knowing the significance of safety preparation and wanting children to feel safe, I wrote an interactive children’s safety book called Safety Safari. It introduces sensitive and frightening topics in a non-threatening way. The information can be reiterated over and over again until children respond instinctively. Safety Safari also encourages children to read, write and communicate. Teaching our children how to evaluate and respond to ambiguous situations empowers them and leads to successful outcomes.

I always open the floor up to questions or comments after reading my book to groups of children. Sometimes the experiences children describe, in relation to topics in my book, are unsettling. It is alarming and upsetting to hear their close calls. For me, this further reinforces the need for safety tools and safety discussions. Such resources not only educate children but provide parents and caregivers peace of mind. A tremendous impact can be made and lives saved if we all lead children to examine uncertain scenarios. Let’s help them practice what to say and how to react so our children have every advantage when faced with the unknown.

Free PDF Printable Safety Worksheets