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A Primer for Preschooler Safety

Your little ones can learn a lot about safety if you take some time to teach them. Keep your lessons simple, say the experts, and even very young children can learn how to stay clear of danger. Here's an ABC rule that you and your children can recite together.

'A': Always ride in a car safety seat

Automobile accidents are the number one cause of death for preschoolers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Teach your child to get into his or her safety seat. Always make sure your child sits in the back seat of the car, even if you're only driving to the nearest convenience store, the American Academy of Pediatrics says.

'B': Beware of fire

Children playing with fire cause hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Of course, you should always keep matches and lighters out of reach. Teach your child never to touch them and to tell you or another responsible adult immediately if someone is playing with matches.

Make sure children know that if their clothes catch on fire, they should "stop, drop and roll." Young children may take the safety slogans literally and roll only one revolution. So practice rolling with them to extinguish mock flames.

Devise a family escape route, and crawl with them on the floor to practice getting safely out of the house. Make sure they know what your home's smoke alarms sound like.

'C': Call for help with the telephone

Even very young children can learn to call for help by dialing 911 or your local emergency number. Practice dialing the number either on a pretend phone or a disconnected one and stress that the number is used only for emergencies. Tell them not to hang up as that is a key connection that helps emergency services find them. You want them to stay on the line, because if they hang up, the connection is gone.