Use these back to school safety tips to protect your kids throughout the year.
You don't have to look hard to find the stories. Every community has to grapple with the problem of violence in and around schools. From attempted kidnappings to fights to threats to some of the worst imaginable atrocities, a school can be a dangerous place. It doesn't need to be, though. When it's time to send the kids back to school, safety tips should be the number one item on your supply list.
Overall, the schools in our country are safe places for our kids. Still, safety is a high priority when it comes to children. For parents, it can be difficult to watch our kids walk away from us, but it's easier when we empower them with the knowledge to know what to do if danger appears.
Share these back to school safety tips with your kids to help them stay safe all year long.
Back to school safety tips: the basics
Every child should know basic safety precautions as soon as they are old enough to understand them. These are the basic safety rules we all use to navigate our world every day.
Make sure your child knows your phone number, address, and how to call 911. If they are old enough, they should also memorize a trusted friend's phone number and address.
Cross at the corner
Teach your child to cross the street at the corner and with the traffic light. Remind them to look both ways before crossing the street and to follow the directions of the crossing guard when they are close to school.
Never talk to strangers (except when you do)
This has been the child safety rule since anyone can remember. If a stranger approaches your child and wants to show them a puppy or offer them a ride or strike up a conversation, it is good advice. However, it isn't always practical.
Children do need to know how to talk to strangers and how to tell the kind strangers from the bad ones. If your son or daughter gets lost in a crowd, they need to ask for help. If they are alone and in danger, they need to ask for help. In the book Protecting the Gift, Gavin de Becker points out that the key for children is learning assertiveness and how to trust their feelings toward strangers.
Back to school safety tips: getting to and from school
If your child walks or takes the bus to school, they are in a relatively unmonitored environment. While it's true that violence can happen anywhere, your child probably has more resources for help at home or school than in between.
Don't walk alone
If your child walks to school or to the bus stop, don't let them walk alone. They are safer walking in pairs or groups.
Walk the same route
Pick a path for your child's walk to school and ask them to stick to it. If anything does happen, you'll know where to begin looking for them.
Teach your child what to do if someone harasses them
There is no set rule for what this means. It could be someone in a car asking for directions, or it could be bullying from peers or older kids. If someone in a car tries to engage them or chase them, they should run in the opposite direction from the car and get help as quickly as possible.
Back to school safety tips: trouble at school
As much as we wish every school was a haven of safety for our kids, we know this isn't the case. Does your child know what to do if they run into trouble at school?
The lockdown drill
We've gone from cold war drills to fire drills to lockdown drills. Schools are required to have a procedure in place for an active shooter situation. Talk to your kids about their drills. As much as teachers try to normalize these drills, they are still scary for kids. Let them know that although a shooting scenario is unlikely, it's good to practice, just like firefighters train in burning buildings, so they know what to do in an emergency.
Don't tell, don't yell
The don't tell, don't yell rule applies both in and out of school. If a bully (or anyone) is doing something that makes your child uncomfortable and tells them not to yell or not to tell anyone, that is exactly what your child should do immediately. The only reason for someone to tell your child not to yell is because someone will hear them.
You can use these back to school safety tips throughout the year to keep you and your kids safe. While there's never a guarantee, there is a lot you can do to stay safe: maintain your awareness, trust your instincts, and don't be afraid to put your family's safety first, especially if you're feeling pressure to go against your better judgment.
One part of safety is quality insurance coverage. Check in with us to find out if your insurance needs are up to date. At Pekin Insurance, we take special care to provide families and individuals with affordable insurance and quality coverage.
What safety tips do you share with your kids before they head back to school? Share your thoughts with us in the comments. The more tips we can share, the better off we'll all be.