Simple safety signs to teach non-reading children

Written by lisa finn Google
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  • Introduction

    Simple safety signs to teach non-reading children

    Teaching children to identify signs that help to keep them safe is especially important when they cannot yet read. Some warning and safety signs are easy to recognise because of their colour or shape; others are identifiable by the picture. By showing different safety signs and explaining their meanings to children, you are empowering them to keep safe and to better understand their surroundings.

    Pictures and colours can identify signs. (neighbourhood zone - german signs image by kolesn from

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    Street Signs

    When walking on the street with a child, bring her to an intersection and show the different signs on the four corners. Point out the flashing or solid red hand across the crosswalk and tell her it means do not walk. Enlighten a child about colours on a street light: stop with red, slow down with yellow and go on green. Find a stop sign and explain that a red sign with white letters and eight sides means to stop.

    A stop sign is recognisable to young children. (illuminated stop sign image by leemarusa from

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    Not Acceptable

    If a child is enjoying a public pool, for example, teach him to read the safety signs around the pool. A no-running sign is a person swiftly running with a line through it. If an area is slippery, the sign will generally be yellow with a person slipping or looking as if he has lost balance. When diving is not allowed, children should recognise the sign of a person diving into water with bolts emphasising a hurt head.

    Pay attention to signs with people. (No Diving Sign image by Georgiy Pashin from

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    Harmful Material

    Poisons and cleaning solutions should be kept out of reach of children at all times. Some harmful substances have a skull and crossbones on the package, and children should be taught that means dangerous. Explain to a child that he will be seriously injured if he ingests the item or plays with it, because it is toxic. Symbols on electrical objects are usually a triangle with a lightning bolt, which means to stay away because of electric shock hazards.

    A skull and crossbones means danger. (poison ballon image by Anton Gvozdikov from

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    Circle With Line

    Identifying what a child should not do is easy whenever a circle is present with a line running through the picture. Show a child the no eating and drinking signs, for example, which are typically a cup and food, or a fork and a knife, with a line crossing it out. An area where a child should not ride his bike will show a bike crossed out.

    Explain that a line means a person cannot do the activity. (no biking sign image by Evan Meyer from

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    Helpful Signs

    Children should also know that blue signs show information and help. A hospital or telephone sign, for example, means a hospital or telephone is nearby. Rest room signs are typically blue and have either a man, a woman or both on the sign. If a child needs to leave someplace quickly, she should know that an exit sign is usually red or green and might show a person walking. Teach the child to recognise the "X" in an exit sign.

    Identify the "X" and a person walking. (exit sign image by robert mobley from

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