Sub-domain: Safety

The Safety sub-domain covers goals twenty-five and twenty-six of the Idaho Early Learning Guidelines.

Using this guide

Scroll down to see the age group you are most interested in. Click on the goal to learn more about the goal's:

  • developmental growth
  • child indicators
  • caregiver strategies

There is an option to download the information at the end of each goal. When you click the link you will be brought to a new page where you can download the goal as a PDF.  

Child holding hand

0 - 8 Months

Goal 25: Children demonstrate knowledge about and avoid harmful objects and situations.

Developmental Growth: Show discomfort or anxiousness in stressful situations.

Child Indicators: Shows recognition of the differences between primary caregivers and strangers. Demonstrates anxiety or exhibits disengagement cues when the child has undergone prolonged, painful, or stressful situations (medical procedures, chaotic environments). Shows anxiety of the difference between primary caregivers and strangers.

Caregiver Strategies: Provide constant close adult supervision and guidance. Dress child appropriately for the weather conditions. Put infant to sleep on his/her back. Provide a safe, childproof environment (keep choking hazards and poisons out of child’s reach, cover electrical outlets). Understand the risk factors and signs of child abuse and neglect and respond appropriately. Protect from exposure to violence, television, excessive noise, etc.

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Goal 26: Children demonstrate Awareness and understanding of safety rules.

Developmental Growth: Rely on adults for safety.

Child Indicators: Children are dependent on adults to keep them safe during this age.

Caregiver Strategies: Provide a safe childproof environment (cover electrical outlets, keep poisons and items that might cause choking out of child’s reach).  Ensure use of age- and weight-appropriate car safety seat when riding in vehicles. Provide appropriate use of safety equipment (car seat, bike helmet, life jacket).

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6 - 18 Months

Goal 25: Children demonstrate knowledge about and avoid harmful objects and situations.

Developmental Growth: Rely on adults to maintain safe environment and respond to adult indicators of unsafe or dangerous situations.

Child Indicators: Begins to respond to cues from caregivers about warnings of danger. Begins to react when caregiver says, “no,” but may need assistance to stop unsafe behavior. Respond to cues from caregivers about warnings of danger. Reacts when caregiver says, “no,” but may need assistance to stop unsafe behavior.

Caregiver Strategies: Model vocabulary that indicates danger. Demonstrate clear and consistent boundaries about harmful objects and situations (always use car safety seats, life jackets, and bicycle helmets when traveling). Explain when things are hot and too hot to safely touch; cold and too cold to safely touch. Prepare food to avoid choking hazards.

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Goal 26: Children demonstrate Awareness and understanding of safety rules.

Developmental Growth: Rely on caregivers for safety and protection.  Responds to adult cues/directions when feeling unsafe.

Child Indicators: Reacts and responds to caregiver’s words or actions; can be distracted from unsafe behavior with words, physical prompts, or signal from adult, but requires constant supervision and guidance (stops unsafe activity when told to “stop”). Follows some consistently set rules and routines. Watches familiar adult for appropriate reaction.

Caregiver Strategies: Provide a safe childproof environment (cover electrical outlets, keep poisons and items that might cause choking out of child’s reach).  Ensure use of age- and weight-appropriate car safety seat when riding in vehicles. Model appropriate use of safety equipment (always wear a seatbelt, bike helmet, life jacket).

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Young children’s physical well-being is dependent on adult-provided safety.

16 - 38 Months

Goal 25: Children demonstrate knowledge about and avoid harmful objects and situations.

Developmental Growth: Begin to develop an awareness of harmful objects and situations and respond, with assistance.

Child Indicators: Begins to avoid dangers (blowing on hot food, hot stoves, sharp knives), but cannot be relied on to keep self safe. Knows to hold caregiver’s hand when walking in public places. Communicates to adult when someone hurts or makes them feel bad.

Caregiver Strategies: Provide constant close adult supervision and guidance. Use poison symbols in classroom and at home and teach child what they mean. Talk with child about harmful objects and substances. Teach child to tell an adult if they are afraid, have been hurt by an adult or another child, or see something that is not safe. Keep guns unloaded, use safety locks, and store in a locked cabinet away from children. Introduce child to safety personnel and places (firefighters, fire stations; health clinics, doctors, and hospitals). Teach child that they are strong and capable and can count on you to keep them safe. Demonstrate clear and consistent boundaries about harmful objects and situations (always put child in car safety seat when traveling in a vehicle). Assist child in dressing appropriately and check clothing for hazards.

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Goal 26: Children demonstrate Awareness and understanding of safety rules.

Developmental Growth: Develop an awareness of safety rules and respond to safety rules, with assistance.

Child Indicators: Displays recognition of the rules, though may not always follow them. Anticipates consequences for not following rules. Pays attention to safety instructions, with assistance (cooperates when told, “I need to hold your hand when we cross the street.”). Verbally offers simple rules (hot, no-no, no running inside).

Caregiver Strategies: .Talk about the importance of wearing helmets while riding a tricycle; provide helmets for all people riding bikes, snowmobiles, skiing, 4-wheelers, etc. Use teachable moments to demonstrate safety in the community (traffic, animals, staying with the group). Comment descriptively when child behaves safely. Demonstrate, explain, and provide opportunities for child to practice safety around bodies of water (lakes, oceans, rivers, ditches). Provide frequent reminders about safety rules (“You should hold an adult’s hand when you walk in a parking lot.”).

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36 - 60 Months

Goal 25: Children demonstrate knowledge about and avoid harmful objects and situations.

Developmental Growth: Demonstrate an awareness and understanding of harmful objects and situations and respond, with and without assistance.

Child Indicators: Communicates to peers and adults when seeing dangerous behaviors (throwing rocks on the playground). Carries scissors and pencils with points down to avoid accidents. Looks both ways before crossing street or road and knows to cross with adult assistance. Recognizes danger and poison symbols and avoids those objects or areas. Does not touch or take medicine, without adult assistance; but knows that medicine can improve health, when used properly. Understands the difference between safe touch and unsafe touch. Identifies appropriate clothing and sunscreen for various weather conditions. Recognizes safety issues with guns, fire, water, and strangers.

Caregiver Strategies: Provide constant close adult supervision and guidance. Participate in discussions with firefighters about fires and safety precautions. Read stories in which children face harmful situations and discuss how they deal with them. Provide puppets, role-play materials, and songs/rhymes that help child focus on who and what can be trusted. Be vigilant about appropriate clothing and skin protection. Provide role-playing situations for child to practice personal safety. Demonstrate clear and consistent boundaries about harmful objects and situations (always put child in car safety seat, helmets for bikes). Keep guns unloaded, use safety locks, and store in a locked cabinet away from children. Become familiar with the risk factors and signs of child abuse and neglect. Explain 911 and show child how to dial 911.

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Goal 26: Children demonstrate Awareness and understanding of safety rules.

Developmental Growth: Follow safety rules, with and without assistance.

Child Indicators: Understands and anticipates the consequences of not following rules. Identifies safety signs posted indoors and outdoors. Follows emergency drill instructions (fire, earthquake, bomb, lockdown). Follows basic safety rules, with assistance (bus, bicycle, boat, plane, playground, crossing the street, stranger awareness, using sidewalk). Initiates getting buckled into age- and weight-appropriate car safety seats in vehicles. Puts on or asks for helmet before riding a bicycle or other wheeled toy. Shows an interest in participating in setting rules for indoor and outdoor play in a classroom setting.

Caregiver Strategies: Discuss personal safety rules with child (holding hands in crowds, wearing a personal flotation device, wearing a bike helmet). Provide basic safety equipment for all of child’s activities. Model safe practices (personal floatation, helmets, fire safety). Discuss safety rules regarding recreation, wilderness, and animal safety (guns, motor craft, matches, propane, and water safety). Talk with child about fire safety (“Tell an adult if you find matches and lighters.”). Provide opportunities for child to practice appropriate emergency drills (fire, earthquake, bomb). Show and tell child how to call 911 in an emergency situation. Discuss different people child can ask for help in an emergency situation (police officer, firefighter, neighbor). Provide opportunities for child to learn and practice water safety. Discuss traffic safety signs as they travel in motor vehicles while on field trips.Provide facsimiles of stops signs, railroad signs, etc., for use in play situations. Encourage participation in setting rules for the classroom.

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Safety includes protecting children from exposure to harmful substances and situations and helping children learn to avoid harmful objects, environments, and circumstances.

60 Months - Kindergarten

Goal 25: Children demonstrate knowledge about and avoid harmful objects and situations.

Developmental Growth: Explain harmful objects and situations and respond independently most of the time.

Child Indicators: Explains when not to accept rides, food, or money from strangers. Understands that some practices may be personally dangerous (smoking, drinking alcohol, playing with matches, contact with blood, playing near ditches). Identifies adults who can assist in dangerous situations (parents, teachers, police officers). Recognizes personal privacy in relation to their body.

Caregiver Strategies: Though child can explain safety procedures, they may not always do what is safe.  Provide constant close adult supervision and guidance. Participate with child in community health and safety programs (local and tribal clinics, dentist, doctor, veterinarian, firefighter, police officer). Talk with child about harmful situations and alternative strategies for dealing with them. Show child difference between candy and pills and food and non- food items (drug abuse concerns). Take neighborhood walks with child and look at and discuss potentially dangerous situations. Explain safety rules for privacy in relation to their body. Teach child when and how to dial 911.

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Goal 26: Children demonstrate Awareness and understanding of safety rules.

Developmental Growth: Verbalize and demonstrate application of safety rules and respond independently most of the time.

Child Indicators: Tells and follows safety rules consistently. Explains why emergency drills are important. Explains how to get help in emergency situations (calling 911, finding a police officer or responsible adult). Demonstrates safety rules and engages in dramatic play (e.g., “Keep your fingers away from the hot stove so you do not get hurt.”). Participates in setting rules for indoor and outdoor play in a classroom setting. Responds quickly to adult directives about safety.Seeks adult help in unsafe situations.

Caregiver Strategies: Discuss and demonstrate personal safety rules with child (holding hands in crowds, wearing a personal floatation device, wearing a bike helmet). Discuss safety rules regarding recreation, wilderness, and animal safety (guns, motor craft, matches, propane, and water safety) Talk with child about fire safety (“Tell an adult if you find matches and lighters.”). Practice a fire/emergency exit plan for your home and where to meet after exiting. Show and tell child how to call 911 in an emergency situation. Identify different people child can ask for help in an emergency situation (police officer, neighbor, emergency medical technician, librarian, bus driver). Provide opportunities for child to observe traffic safety rules as they travel in motor vehicles and public transportation. Discuss traffic safety signs as they travel in motor vehicles while on field trips. Involve children in setting safety rules for classroom setting. Provide supervision for child; preferably sight and sound supervision.

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