Raising the Street-Wise Child: 8 ER Tips for Outdoor Safety


With busy children and a lot more activity on our streets today, Hospitality Health ER in Longview and Tyler believes that one of the best ways to keep your kids safe in and around your neighborhood is to teach them how to practice safety on their own.

Parents, remember the freedom we had as kids? With a quick wave goodbye to our parents, we’d run outside to play tag with the neighbors or bike to a friends’ house, possibly even several miles away. But if you ask a lot of parents today, you’ll hear many of them say, “Things aren’t like they used to be. You have to be a lot more careful these days.”

What does this mean exactly? Is it because streets are busier, or because we often don’t know our neighbors anymore? Or perhaps it’s because we have more access to disturbing news.

Instead of keeping kids locked up in the house in fear of their safety, why not teach them a few safety and survival tips when you feel they are ready for a little independence?

Neighborhood Tips to Keep Your Child Safe and Out of the ER

  1. From a young age, begin training your child how to cross a road safely using the STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN approach. Have them practice a few times with you watching from a distance, so they learn how to cross on their own. This will teach them how to be safely independent early on.
  2. Teach your child to keep their “car radar” on at all timesmeaning they should always be aware of their surroundings, especially when playing on or near streets. Tell them to stop all play and move to the side when a vehicle is approaching.
  3. Use cones, signs, or markers to warn drivers that kids may be playing in the road.
  4. If you have older kids that are allowed to play outside after the sun goes down, remind them to dress in bright colors. Purchase reflective strips for clothing, bikes, and helmets so cars can easily see them.
  5. Train your child to always carry a flashlight and whistle in the evenings in case they get lost. Remind them that it’s best to stay in one place if they are really lost, so that it’s easier to find them.
  6. Tell your kids to stay away from bodies of water if they are by themselves, even if they are confident swimmers. Set limitations around where they can go and advise them on the best paths to take away from water. Swim lessons at an early age are encouraged because of drowning risks.
  7. On hot days, remind your children to drink plenty of water before and during their outdoor explorations. The risk of dehydration increases with temperatures over 90 degrees.
  8. And of course, teach them not to accept offers from or get in cars with strangers.  If they feel they are in danger, tell them to run and find a person nearby to help and call the police.

For more on keeping your kids safe and healthy, follow Hospitality Health ER in Longview and Tyler on Facebook or visit our blog.