As a parent, your primary job is to keep your child safe. This is easier when your child is by your side, but your child will eventually go out into the world without you. While this can seem scary, it’s a natural part of life. There will still be ways for you to protect your child, so learning what to do ahead of time can help keep your child safe.

Talk to Your Child

The best way to ensure that your child is safe when he or she is without you is to talk to your child. Make sure he or she knows the dangers that are possible when he or she is alone and that your child understands what to do when he or she needs help. Educating your child about simple things like calling 911 or not going off with a stranger can be incredibly helpful. There’s no need to scare your child, but he or she should know the huge responsibility that comes with being on his or her own.

It is also very important to talk to them about being aware of their surroundings when they’re out alone or with someone else. Remember that even if your child is with an adult, it’s wise to help your child to know how to take care of themselves so you aren’t relying wholly on that other adult’s ability to keep them safe. The more independent your child is, the more confident you can be letting them go places without you.

Know What’s Happening

It’s also a good idea for you to stay aware of what’s going on when your child isn’t with you. When your child is younger, this means knowing the parents or responsible parties that are with your child as well as keeping track of where your child is supposed to be. As your child gets older, this also means knowing more about your child’s friends and the particular dangers into which an older child can fall. For children of any age with allergies or medical conditions you can have them wear a medical alert band that can give adults important information in case of emergency.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

One of the best parts of being a parent in the online era is instant communication. You should have the phone number of the adults with whom your child is spending time as well as the locations where your child goes without out. When your child is older, you can also use a cellphone to keep in contact. You don’t have to check in every few minutes, but it’s good to know that you have a way to contact your child when there is an emergency. Even better, some of these methods of communication can also help your child communicate with the authorities if there is a major emergency and you are not around.

Keeping your kids safe when you are not around is really a matter of giving both yourself and your child the right tools. Make sure your child is prepared before he or she leaves home, that you know where your child is going and with whom, and that you have the tools to communicate in an emergency. If you can manage all of that, you’ll be able to feel safer knowing that your child is prepared for any dangers with which he or she might deal.