9 back-to-school safety tips
In order to ensure that children get to and from school more safely, the Missing Children’s Network has published safety tips for parents.
Ensure your child knows his complete name, address and telephone number. Should your child get lost or need to reach you in an emergency, he will need this information in order to obtain help.
Your child should always ask for permission before going anywhere. You must always know where your child is, as well as keep him informed of your whereabouts. Establish an information/communication centre in the house where every member of the family can leave messages.
There is safety in numbers. A child who is accompanied by a friend is less likely to be accosted by an individual with questionable intentions. Check out your child’s friends and get to know their parents and other adults who spend time with your child.
Keep a safe distance. Make sure your child understands that he does not have to engage in conversations with adults who approach him. Kids should always keep at least three giant steps between themselves and someone they don’t know or who make them feel uncomfortable.
Where to go for help if needed. Teach your child to always stay on the designated route when walking to and from school and identify safe havens along the route where he can seek refuge if he needs help (offices, restaurants, telephones where he can call 911).
Create a secret family password to be used in an emergency situation. Choose a password that is known only to you and your child. Your child must always ask for this password before leaving with someone who claims to have been sent in your place.
Avoid identifying items with your child’s name clearly visible on them (lunch box, coat, school bag, etc.). A child will respond more readily to a stranger if he is addressed by name.
Up-to-date emergency contact information. Make sure your child’s school has up-to-date emergency contact information. Ask the school what the procedures are for picking up children so that only those adults that you have authorized can pick up your child.
Related Read: Be vigilant about back-to-school stress