With kids heading back to school within the next few weeks, it seemed like a great time to share a few important safety tips! Many of the helpful hints below are well known by most children, but with the excitement and confusion of returning to school it can be easy for kids to forget, or to be more inclined to inadvertently put themselves into situations that could be dangerous. Offering these simple reminders may help keep safety fresh in their minds as they head off!
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Getting To and From School:
- For younger students, parents should always provide supervision to help ensure their safe arrival to and from school. It is not safe for young children to walk to and from school, even in groups. If your children wait for a bus, wait with them or make arrangements for other trusted adults to provide supervision at the bus stop.
- For older students, if they take the bus, be certain they know which bus is theirs and remind them to stay with a group while standing at the bus stop. If they walk or ride a bike to school, remind them to always take a friend with them when walking or biking. Walk the route to and from school with your children before the start of the year and point out safe places to go if they’re being followed or need help. Teach them never to take short-cuts; to avoid parks, vacant lots, and fields; and to always stay in well-lit areas.
- Let your children know that if anyone harasses them or makes them feel scared or uncomfortable that they should trust their feelings and immediately get away from that person and tell a trusted adult. Impress upon them that it is ok to be rude to people who make them uncomfortable and that it is ok to say "no."
- Teach your children if anyone tries to take them somewhere they should resist by hitting, kicking, and screaming. Advise them to try to run away and call as much attention to themselves as possible by kicking and screaming “Fire!" or “You are not my father/mother!”
- Remind your children never to accept a ride, money, candy, or gift from a stranger. Let them know that if anyone follows them in a vehicle they should turn around, put as much distance between themselves and that vehicle as possible, and run to a trusted adult (or the home of a trusted adult) and ask for help.
- Be sure your children know that grownups should never approach a child to ask for directions, they should ask other adults. Reassure them that it is ok to ignore a stranger trying to get them to approach a vehicle by attempting to solicit their help.
Lines of Communication:
- Be sure the school has current and accurate emergency contact information on file for your children and confirm names of those authorized.
- Always know where your children will be. Teach your children to always check with you before changing their plans before or after school. Teach your children to never leave school, with anyone unless they ok it with you or another trusted adult, even if someone tells them it is an emergency.
- Be sure your children know their home phone number and address, your cell number, the number of another trusted adult, and how to call 911 for emergencies.