This guide is intended to aid safe knife use and to help parents make decisions regarding their children's use of bladed tools. The author accepts NO responsibility whatsoever for any implementation of this advice: like all advice, consider it for yourself, get a second opinion if you feel you need it and take responsibility for your decisions and actions.
Safety Tips Essentials:
1) Use a lock knife for carving, when possible.
2) Keep your blade sharp.
3) Never abuse your knife.
4) Do not tackle cutting tasks beyond your capabilities.
(1) "Use a lock knife for carving, when possible"
A lock knife will not fold-up onto your fingers whilst you're using it. It therefore can be used for work requiring more exertion and versatile handling.
(2) "Keep your blade sharp"
A sharp blade is actually much safer than a blunt blade. This is because a blunt blade can easily slip instead of cut. A blunt blade requires more effort, increasing the likelihood of slippage.
(3) " Never abuse your knife"
Abusing your blade creates wear and damage, increasing the possibilities of accidents. Never throw or drop your knife and never stick it into the ground, etc. Keep it clean and, if the blade is not stainless steel, keep it lightly oiled to prevent rust.
(4) "Do not tackle cutting tasks beyond your capabilities"
Remain within your skill capabilities and the cutting capabilities of the blade. Exceeding these capabilities increases the likelihood of undue wear and tear, damage and accidents.
One final "safety" point: Don't pose with a knife and only ever carry it when it has a legitimate and legal purpose - if you have the skill and aptitude to use it correctly and responsibly.
If you foolishly carry a knife for "self defence" then ask yourself where you'll end up if you use it on someone - or where you'll end up if your opponent gets it off you...
Should you allow your teenage son/daughter to carry a penknife whilst camping unsupervised? Wow, can that be a difficult question to answer!!!
They've got to learn, somehow. Like many things, the best way is to gradually build up their ability and their sense of responsibility and progress at an appropriate pace from there. Spend time with them, introducing them to all aspects of safety before moving on to cutting techniques. Ensure that the safety is instinctive before allowing short periods of carry as part of the family/group (on approriate trips) - this is supervised carry. Eventually, when they know exactly what they're doing - and can be trusted - you might let them carry unsupervised. If so, you must be aware of the legal implications should something go wrong. It's all about responsibility for both child and parents...
It sounds daunting but allowing your child to carry such a knife in the appropriate circumstances fosters responsibility and helps build self-confidence and self-reliance. Allowing a child to carry illegally or when they aren't up to the responsibility is potentially dangerous - it is certainly negligent, irresponsible and criminal. You will need to check and understand local laws regarding this.