Teaching kids how to identify danger and follow personal safety protocols is one of the most important duties of being a parent, guardian, or other mentor figure.
Kids are naturally curious, open, and trusting – this is what makes them so teachable. But without careful guidance and shaping, those qualities can get them in trouble very fast.
For our Guardian Gear Giveaway, we asked you all:
What did you all say? How are you teaching your kids to stay safe and know what danger looks like?
We got some great responses that everybody needs to hear about!
At a time when a lot of people are walking around with heads buried in their phones, we’re relieved to see so many of you mention teaching your kids situational awareness.
1. I have taught my children and grandchildren to be aware of their surroundings at all times. To maintain a Condition Yellow and to take defensive measures where applicable.
– Anthony Y.
(Anthony makes a great point. If you don’t know what Condition Yellow means, it comes from the ‘Color Code’ created by Jeff Cooper, which has been taught by police instructors for many years. It’s a system for categorizing levels of situational awareness. Check it out.)
2. Being aware of their surroundings. Dropping and hitting the deck on command and with suspicious circumstances. Scanning always. Being physically and mentally prepared.
– Richard G.
– Jayden H.
4. General situational awareness: Know the exits of anywhere you enter, treat all guns as though they are loaded, and we quiz on the best places to hide when we go places.
– James T.
A lot of you mentioned teaching gun safety to kids in conjunction with situational awareness. We say a hearty ‘Heck yeah!’ to that.
5. There's not enough room here to tell you all the things I teach them. They know that guns aren't toys and if they see one to get away and tell an adult. They also know guns are always loaded and dangerous. They know all the safety rules and know the ONLY time they are allowed to touch one is when their grandfather or myself allow them to. NO EXCEPTIONS!
– Brian J.
6. Stay in groups of friends and never be alone with strangers. Never touch a firearm that you find without permission. All firearms need to be treated as though they are loaded. Don't point it at anything you don't want to destroy.
– Joseph L.
(Don’t point it at anything you don’t want to destroy. That’s a good way to phrase it, Joseph L.)
7. Discuss situational awareness when in parking lots, getting in/out of cars. Taught them firearm safety when younger and taught them how to shoot rifles/pistols before the age of 8.
– Michael K.
8. I started teaching my daughter about the many aspects of situational awareness when she was 5. Started teaching her gun safety at 7. Used gas powered airsoft pistols that were replicas of my real pistols for a year before taking her to the range for the first time. Got her up to speed on rifles using various .22's. She got behind one of my Milsurp Enfield rifles at around 10 years old. She claims it broke her shoulder Lol. I was behind her with my arms wrapped in between hers firmly holding the rifle too, so she only got maybe 10% of the recoil. I was amazed that she was not intimidated at all about pulling the trigger on that big rifle! She couldn't wait to tell her school friends that she had fired a real WWII rifle. Now she's a 21 year old young lady who is not one to be messed with.
– John J.
(Nice work, John J.!)
9. Personal interaction during his whole childhood. Walks in the woods, on the streets, in the towns and cities, teaching them situational awareness about anything that could pose a potential threat. Junior membership at our gun club to learn firearm safety. Still to this day daily reinforcement. Got to stay safe.
– John S.
10. Hands on. I am a 30-year Army veteran. Taught them the do's and don'ts of a weapon: How to load and unload, clearing a weapon, anti-terrorism tips, TARP training.
– David T.
YouTube / Videos
YouTube’s got everything, doesn’t it? Some of it’s garbage, but some of it is a life-saving resource!
11. I use backpack inserts and safety videos to instill confidence and preparedness in them and other loved ones.
– Sean G.
(Love the backpack inserts, Sean!)
12. Not my children, but I encourage all family members to subscribe to Active Self Protection (ASP) on YouTube. John shares valuable information on "situational awareness" and tactics on how to both avoid the fight, something we should all do more of and how to make sure you win the unavoidable fight.
– William T.
(Love it, William T. We’re big fans of ASP here.)
13. I use videos on YouTube. I explain to them how to avoid the danger and why it's important. I give them examples of situations in which dangers had occurred.
– Matt W.
14. We watch gun safe classes on YouTube, and we discuss proper handling and sight awareness.
– Jerry B.
(Jerry’s advice could technically go under ‘Gun Safety,’ but we like that he utilizes YouTube for this. Can’t beat it!)
15. YouTube videos of people in bad situations for visual analysis.
– Jimmy H.
Knowing Who to Trust… and Who Not to Trust
Who is a trustworthy adult and who isn’t? A lot of you mentioned giving this classic bit of personal safety advice to your kids.
16. Teaching them to recognize and trust certain adults in their lives such as parents, teachers, and caregivers and explaining that these adults can be approached for help or guidance if they feel unsafe or encounter a dangerous situation.
– Connor K.
17. Don't trust anyone but mom, dad, Oma and Opa, and my siblings. When daddy puts his hand on his holster, stay quiet, low, and behind me.
– Eric S.
18. Teach children about "tricky people" rather than "stranger danger." This helps them understand that not all strangers are bad but that some people (even people they know) might try to trick them. 2. Teach children to trust their instincts. If something doesn't feel right, they should tell a trusted adult. 3. Role-play different scenarios with your child so they can practice saying "no" and getting away from a potentially dangerous situation. 4. Teach children about personal boundaries. They have the right to say "no" to physical contact that makes them uncomfortable. 5. Teach children about different types of dangers such as fire safety, water safety, and online safety. 6. Teach children to be aware of their surroundings and to avoid dangerous situations. 7. Encourage open communication with your child. Let them know they can come to you with any concerns or questions. 8. Teach children how to call for help in case of an emergency. Hope these help!
– Jysaiah B.
(Lots of gold in this one. Thanks, Jysaiah!)
19. Trust your gut feelings!
– Michael G.
20. We teach them about stranger danger. Always lock doors and watch what's going on around you. Friends, family and neighbors are the same, and kids know who to trust and always be where they should be.
– Andrea B.
21. SHOW & TELL: Explain the presence of evil and bad people in the world. Tell them to be wary of anyone who offers something or suggests not telling parents, teachers, pastors.
– RL W.
As adults, our #1 duty is to make sure our kids are safe. Sometimes the world has other ideas, though, so an equally important responsibility is to teach kids how to identify danger and practice personal safety themselves.
How does one go about doing that? Different families have different methods, and sometimes we can learn from each other.
Some of you use the Color Code as a way to teach situational awareness, with Condition Yellow the go-to mindset out in public.
When it comes to gun safety, some families follow the ‘hands off, always, 100%’ rule, while others teach your kids hands-on gun safety. What works for you works for you.
What about adults intent to harm kids? The old Don’t Talk to Strangers approach is still a popular one, but others choose to teach kids to identify ‘tricky people.’ (And we sure know there are plenty of those in the world.)
And one thing we learned from some of you through this Q and A session is that YouTube has got some great resources for teaching all of the above or even some basics of self defense.
Nice work, Bulletproof squad.
Which of these pieces of advice do YOU use with your own kids (or kids you know)? Is there anything here you’re going to try with your own family? Let us know in the comments!
𝘋𝘪𝘴𝘤𝘭𝘢𝘪𝘮𝘦𝘳: 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘷𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘸𝘦𝘣𝘱𝘢𝘨𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘪𝘯𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘱𝘶𝘳𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘯𝘭𝘺. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘰𝘱𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘶𝘨𝘨𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘭𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘥𝘶𝘢𝘭𝘴 𝘲𝘶𝘰𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘥𝘰 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘯𝘦𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘭𝘺 𝘳𝘦𝘧𝘭𝘦𝘤𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘷𝘪𝘦𝘸𝘴 𝘰𝘳 𝘰𝘱𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘦𝘣𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘦 𝘰𝘳 𝘪𝘵𝘴 𝘰𝘸𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘴. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘦𝘣𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘦 𝘥𝘰𝘦𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘰𝘳𝘴𝘦 𝘰𝘳 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘮𝘰𝘵𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘪𝘧𝘪𝘤 𝘮𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘦𝘴, 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘨𝘪𝘦𝘴, 𝘰𝘳 𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘭𝘦. 𝘙𝘦𝘢𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘢𝘨𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘥𝘶𝘤𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘤𝘩 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘦𝘦𝘬 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘧𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘢𝘥𝘷𝘪𝘤𝘦. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘦𝘣𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘵𝘴 𝘰𝘸𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘥𝘦𝘤𝘪𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘰𝘳 𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘵𝘢𝘬𝘦𝘯 𝘣𝘢𝘴𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘷𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘱𝘢𝘨𝘦.