Child Safety: Teaching Your Children To Identify Policemen And Emergency Personnel Safely

This article discusses the importance of teaching children to identify, and respect, police officers and other emergency personnel.

Parents should always teach their children to identify police officers and other emergency personnel, in case they need to approach someone if they are lost, or in the event of some other kind of emergency.

Police officers and firefighters are probably the first emergency personnel a child will see. They see these public servants on television, in movies, and pass by the police and fire stations around their town. Parents should being by stressing that police officers are not to be feared, but to be respected. Parents should tell their children that police officers are their friends and that they will not take little children to jail. This will help a child not fear approaching an officer if there is an emergency.

Parents should teach small children (ages 3-5) that the police officer always wears a badge. They should point out pictures in books or magazines of police officers and their badges, and should ask the child to look through a magazine and point out the police officers he or she sees. The main point should be to tell a younger child that police officers help people.

For older children, parents should stress that the child should look for "police" or "police department" on the officer's badge or shoulder patch. They should also look for the officer's name, so they can tell their parents which officer helped them.

The second public servant a child will meet often is a firefighter. Of course, most children immediately think of firefighters wearing their hats and carrying a hose. Small children should be taught to look for badges, as well, but also to look for the big red truck. The same methods of identification can be used as for police officers. Look for a badge, a name and "fire department" somewhere on the officer's uniform.

Older children can also be taught to look for "911" and the flashing lights on the emergency vehicles, whether police cars or fire vehicles.

Many police and fire stations are happy to offer tours for children, especially school groups. Parents should certainly inquire about this and should suggest to their child's teacher that such a tour be arranged, if possible. This will allow children a close-up look at the facilities, equipment and uniforms of firefighters and police officers.

A child is also likely to see emergency medical technicians as they answer calls in an ambulance. The same criteria for identifying police officers and firefighters holds true for EMTs as well, except that most do not wear badges. A child should look for their medical kits, instead, and for the ambulance.

Parents can make a game of identifying people by their vehicles as they drive around town. If they see an emergency vehicle, the child should guess what the vehicle is, who drives it and what they wear on their uniforms. For example, "That's a fire truck! A fireman drives it! He wears the big hat!"

Identifying emergency personnel is a vital skill for every child. What is more important, however, is that the child is taught to respect these public servants. The child should learn that emergency workers should not be bothered while they are doing their jobs, but that they should notify workers of an emergency. They should also learn that these people should be respected, to call them "sir" or "ma'am" and to know that they are good people who work to help other people.

© High Speed Ventures 2011