It’s hard to believe that it’s already fall, and time for students of all ages to hit the books again. While the new school year brings an opportunity for children to have fun, meet friends and gain knowledge, it also poses a few safety risks. Here are some kid-friendly tips for helping your little ones stay safe this school year.
- Be present on the way to or from school
Your children should know to always walk, never run, stay off the road and on the sidewalk, and be aware of what’s going on around them. Of course, always tell your kids that they shouldn’t talk to or get in the car with strangers. If you have any doubt about your child’s safety, walk them to school or the bus yourself - better safe than sorry!
- Carry and know how to use your personal alarm
It’s one of the most important school supplies you can send your child off with. Attach it to their backpack strap and show them how to use it properly. All they have to do is pull the pin to activate the alarm. They can use the device to signal for help if they feel unsafe near a stranger, and should know that the safety tool is not a toy.
- Seek out an adult if you get lost - don't wait for someone to approach you
“It is always better for your children, and even you for that matter, to approach and pick the person to seek assistance from than have them pick and approach you,” says esteemed police officer and personal safety expert Gary Sikorski. “What are the odds that you would pick a predator, opposed to trying to determine if the person offering to assist you is a Good Samaritan or an opportunistic predator?” Children have the best odds of falling into trustworthy hands if they approach a woman, especially one with children.
- Know who your parents are, where you live and what your phone number is
If your child gets lost and does find a trustworthy adult, such as a security guard, police officer, teacher or store clerk, it’ll help if they can give them the necessary information. By knowing their parents’ names, address and phone number, your child will be able to help things run smoothly. Plus, they’ll gain family pride by owning this knowledge!
- Tell your parents if someone is touching you inappropriately
Your children should know the areas of their body that it’s not OK for adults to touch. Warn your child that if an adult does touch them inappropriately, they’ll likely try and convince the child that something bad will happen if they tell their parent. Let your child know that any time an adult makes them feel uncomfortable, they can always come talk to you about it. They should know that you will be able to keep them and the rest of your family safe from harm while you sort everything out.
- Don't talk to strangers
As children enter elementary school, they should be taught that it’s not appropriate for adults to seek help from children. This will help your child to understand that if an adult asks them for directions, or to help find a ‘lost’ dog, they’re probably an untrustworthy person. If they are approached by a stranger, they should enter a public place like a nearby store and find a trustworthy adult immediately.
- Use the buddy system to help your friends have fun and stay safe
Kids should stick together as much as possible, so that they can look out for one another - plus, the school day is more fun with a friend!
Find safety tips for school, work and play year-round on the SABRE blog.