50 Potentially Life-Saving Safety Tips Every Teenager Should Know

We can't protect our kids from everything... but we CAN prepare them

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: 50 Potentially Life-Saving Safety Tips Every Teenager Should Know

The beauty of having teenagers is that they start to become far more self-sufficient and independent. But there’s a downside to that… it’s when the real worry kicks in. 

When my kids were young, I worried about whether they’d take a nap or share their toys during playdates. Now I worry about BIG stuff like them driving alone, staying safe when they’re out with friends, whether they’re aware of their surroundings when they’re walking to their car, and whether they’ll make good decisions when the chips are down.  

I can’t protect my kids from everything… I know that. But what I can do is prepare them, educate them and make them more aware

My list of safety tips might be long, and some might even be harsh, but these are things I need my kids to remember. Things I hope they think about before making a poor decision. Things I hope make them think twice before they follow the crowd. 

This list isn’t all-encompassing, there’s surely more I could add. But here are the most important safety tips I want my kids to know… potentially life-saving safety tips every teenager should know. 

50 Potentially Life-Saving Safety Tips Every Teenager Should Know


Everyday Safety Tips

  1. ALWAYS let someone know where you are at all times. There are plenty of smartphone apps that use GPS to track your location so your parents/friends know if you don’t check-in or come home by a certain time. 
  2.  It’s sad, but you can’t trust anyone you don’t know. If a man or woman approaches you in public and asks for money, a ride, directions or anything else, you don’t have to engage with them. And, don’t assume a woman is harmless. Sometimes, criminals work in teams. STAY ALERT!
  3. Never wear earbuds when you’re walking alone at night. Criminals are always on the hunt for people who are distracted and easy targets. 
  4. If you ever feel threatened by someone at ANY time, it’s okay to be LOUD and MAKE A SCENE. The goal is to attract bystanders. Criminals don’t want attention. 
  5. Don’t post your every move on social media. That way no one will be able to digitally stalk you.
  6. Put pepper spray or a loud whistle on your keychain and keep it handy when you’re walking to and from your car or in and out of various venues. You can never be too prepared!
  7. PUT THE CELLPHONE DOWN. You’re an easy target when you’re focused on the conversation you’re having and NOT your surroundings. Those calls and texts can wait!
  8. When taking an Uber, either alone or with friends, always ask the driver, “Who are you here for?” to ensure they are a legitimate Uber driver. 
  9. Never get too comfortable. Just because you’re in a familiar setting – near your home, at school, at your favorite hang-out with friends or jogging on your favorite route doesn’t mean you’re necessarily safe. You can become a victim anywhere… remember that!
  10. It’s a harsh reality, but a police officer once told me that being “flashy” with jewelry, a designer handbag or a wad of money (even if it just looks like a lot of money) is an open invitation to criminals. Bottom line, try to be discrete.

When Driving

  1. Never ever text and drive. It’s not worth the risk!
  2. Make a habit of always locking your car doors the second you get into the car.  You’re putting yourself at risk if you fumble around in your car, make a phone call or text a friend. Your best bet is to GET IN YOUR CAR, LOCK UP immediately and LEAVE. If not, you’re a sitting target for a thief, carjacker or far worse. 
  3. Always wear your seatbelt when driving and when you’re a passenger in a car. Seatbelts cut your risk of serious injury by 50% and your risk of death by 45%.
  4. Make sure you keep jumper cables in your car and everything needed to change a tire. 
  5. Keep $20 tucked in your glove compartment in the event you lose your wallet or need cash to purchase gas in an emergency. You never know when you’ll need it!
  6. Keep driving distractions at a minimum. Even things like cranking up the music, eating, looking for a dropped item or glancing at your phone can up your chances of an accident.
  7. Keep a portable charger in your car just in case your cell phone dies.
  8. Make sure you know what number to call for roadside assistance. It’s awfully scary being stranded on the side of the road and not knowing who to call for assistance. 
  9. Always have your car keys in your hand ready to unlock your car when venturing into a parking lot. You’re asking for trouble if you stand in the parking lot fumbling for your keys. 
  10. At night, always park in well-lit areas with the highest amount of pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Parking in an isolated, dark area is a welcome mat for criminals. 
  11. When walking by yourself, hold your cell phone and be ready to make an emergency call. Many phones now have a button on the screen to dial 911 immediately. 
  12. When you’re walking to your car during the day or at night, always stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Criminals always look for easy targets – people who are distracted, preoccupied or fumbling through their handbags or packages. 
  13. When your gas tank gets below the 1/4 mark, get gas. You never want to find yourself stranded on the side of the road because you ran out of gas. And, whenever possible, pump gas during daylight hours – never at night if you can help it. 
  14. If you feel you’re being followed to your car when you leave a store, restaurant or another venue, immediately take a detour TOWARD people. If the person persists, SCREAM and yell FIRE. You are under NO OBLIGATION to be nice, to talk with anyone or respond to anyone who approaches you. If you’re uncomfortable, listen to your instincts! 
  15. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re uncomfortable walking to your car, ask security personnel at the store or restaurant, management, or a friend to walk you to your car. Nothing is worse than an “It won’t happen to me” mentality. 
  16. If you feel you are being followed in your car, STAY CALM, call 911, and head to the nearest police station. Don’t try to lose them by speeding. Once they realize where you’re headed they’ll stop following you. 
  17. Choose parking spaces that are not boxed in by trucks or vans and avoid parking next to heavy bushes or shrubs where you can get cornered. 
  18. If you get pulled over by an unmarked car, you can dial 911 to verify that the person pulling you over is a police officer. If you are unsure, do not pull over until it is verified. (Also, there’s no need to roll your window down all the way – just crack it enough so you can hand the officer your license and insurance information.)
  19. Always scan intersections before driving through. MOST accidents occur at intersections and far too many drivers try to shave off a few minutes of their trip by speeding through an intersection after the light has turned red.
  20. Never drive after you’ve been drinking, taken drugs or when you’re exhausted. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a felony, but that’s far from the only reason you shouldn’t do it. Your life is too important to take the risk.
  21. Never get into an attacker’s car if they order you to, even if they pull a gun. Scream, run, and fight with all you have to avoid complying and getting into the car. (Advice from a police officer.)

On the Internet

  1. Never reveal your personal information to any “stranger” you connect with on social media. Pedophiles often pose as kids/teens to create connections and build trust. 
  2. Check your privacy settings. Whether you know it or not, everything you post is creating a “digital footprint.” You may think you have privacy settings in place only to find out your profiles and photos aren’t quite as hidden as you thought.
  3. Remember… EVERYTHING you post is permanent – it never really goes away! After posting something, anyone can screenshot it, save it and re-post it later. Think twice before you post ANYTHING. Remember, many employers now check social media profiles when hiring. If it’s not something you’d want your mom to see, don’t post it. 
  4. Always choose a strong password. I know it’s hard to keep up with all those passwords you created, but it’s important to choose a password that has a strong mix of symbols, numbers, and capital letters. Also, never share your passwords with anyone (except your parents) – even friends. 
  5. Never “sext.” Don’t let a guy or girl ever talk you into sending a nude or revealing photo. These images never go away and can come back to haunt you when you least expect it. 
  6. Get savvy about WiFi hotspots. Public wireless networks and hotspots are not secure – this means the possibility exists that anyone can see what you are doing on your laptop or smartphone while you are connected to it. If you use public WiFi a lot, think about using a virtual private network (VPN) that provides a more secure WiFi connection.
  7. When in doubt, delete it. Links in emails are often the way “bad guys” get access to your personal information and/or expose your device to a virus. If it looks weird or you’re simply unsure, just delete it. 
  8. Never meet with anyone you “just met” on the internet. If someone asks to meet you, tell your parents or guardian right away. Some people may not be who they say they are.
  9. When ordering anything online, make sure it’s from a reputable site. One of the best ways to know for sure if a site is reputable is whether it’s running on HTTPS, which means the site has a security certificate that safeguards visitors’ personal information by encrypting their data. 

In College

  1. Always use the buddy system when you’re walking the campus at night. There is always safety in numbers.
  2. Pay attention to where the campus security call stations are and avoid walking alone at night at all costs. 
  3. If you’re at a party, always try to pour your own drink and keep it close to you at all times to prevent someone from drugging your drink.
  4. If you DO drink alcohol, never drink and drive. Call a friend, an Uber or take the campus bus. 
  5. And… never get into a car with a driver who’s under the influence of alcohol or drugs – even if they try to convince you that “they’re fine.” 
  6. Don’t study late in isolated places on campus alone.
  7. When going out with your friends, decide beforehand that you will stick together. Don’t let your girlfriend venture off with a guy she doesn’t know. (Guys should look out for each other, too!)
  8. Trust your sixth sense. If you feel someone is following you or you’re in an uncomfortable situation – REACT. Don’t wait. Call for help. Let others know. Scream. Do what you must to stay safe. 
  9. Sign up for campus alerts. The Higher Education Act requires that colleges have a system of phone and email notifications that are used to alert students/faculty of situations quickly. The alert system notifications include school closings, evacuations, serious weather conditions, emergency safety situations, and much more. 
  10. Be smart in your dorm or apartment. Keep the doors locked and if you’re on the first floor, be sure to keep windows locked, too.

The teenage years are such a great time for our teens to gain more independence and life skills, but we can’t send them out into the world without a few important potentially life-saving safety tips every teenager should know. 

We may not be able to protect our kids in every situation and circumstance, but the better we prepare them and the more safety information we share, the better chance they’ll have of staying safe.

If you enjoyed, 50 Potentially Life-Saving Safety Tips Every Teenager Should Know,” you might also enjoy reading:

Life-Saving Driving Tips Every Teen Should Know (Some Might Surprise You)

The 7 Best Apps to Keep Teen Drivers Safe on the Road

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Phyllis March 11, 2022 - 6:46 pm

Best reading that I know concerning teenagers. Thank you. I am raising my granddaughter, 16, I sent article to her phone as well. Together, we will survive.

Nancy Reynolds March 13, 2022 - 8:44 am

That’s SO good to hear! You’re so welcome! 🙂

Nila Young May 9, 2023 - 11:02 am

I enjoy your posts sooo much! I am a minister’s wife and I’d like to be able to share them, but I haven’t found a button to press to share them! Is there a way you could make them shareable?

Nancy Reynolds May 9, 2023 - 12:30 pm

Hi Nila! Thank you so much for your kind words and support! I’m delighted to hear you’re enjoying my posts! Regarding sharing them… beneath the main image on every post (off to the left), you will find icons/buttons for Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Email – these buttons will allow you to share any post of your choosing. I hope this helps! All the best, Nancy 🙂

Richard May 25, 2023 - 5:28 am

I think this underplays the danger posed by cars and overstates “stranger danger”. Around 3000 teenagers die in the US each year in car accidents. This is much more than the roughly 2100 stranger homicides that take place across the population (90percent of homicides are committed by someone known to the victim meaning some advice on how to deal with dangerous people known by the teenager would be good). So I would be advising my teenager on how to create a safe positive culture in the car and how to be brave enough to object if someone is driving recklessly. Also not much mention of firearms when for American teens obviously this is a hugely significant threat to their wellbeing considering the prevalence of campus shootings in the United States.

Nancy Reynolds May 25, 2023 - 6:37 am

Thank you for your comment. Obviously, the number and type of threats our kids are exposed to on a daily basis is overwhelming for parents and, of course, our goal is to educate them and prepare them the best we can. I have written quite a few articles about safe driving, safe-driving apps, avoiding distractions, not getting “too” comfortable behind the wheel and how multiple passengers can impact a teen’s ability to stay focused while driving. In fact, if you scroll down to the bottom of the safety tips post you’re referring to you’ll find a couple of them. I can’t fit everything in every post (I wish I could). Some posts are merely more targeted toward a specific subject as with the case with this post. In no way does it downplay the dangers posed by cars or other areas in our teen’s lives.

Anne May 26, 2023 - 8:56 am

This is such a helpful article. Thank you! Any chance you could send a printable version of these lists?

Nancy Reynolds May 26, 2023 - 9:30 am

I’m SO happy to hear you found the article helpful! Someone else asked if I could turn it into a printable as well. The information is rather long (lots of ground to cover), but I’ll look into it! Thanks again for reaching out! 🙂 Nancy


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