Back to School Safety Tips!
September is a busy time, wrapping up Summer vacations, and of course, the mad scramble to get the kids ready for the return to school. Where do you start? And most importantly, how do you keep everyone safe and secure? Here are some simple suggestions to help.
1. As a parent, give yourself plenty of time, especially on the first few days. Pack some patience and drive sensibly: Obey the posted speed limits, do not pass other vehicles, do not park illegally, change lanes, or make U-turns, while driving in a school zone.
2. If you are lucky enough to be in walking or cycling distance to school, do a dry run with the kids a few days before school starts so they can be familiar with the route. Choose the most direct route, with the least number of street crossings. If there is a route that will have a crossing guard, this is a good choice. If you are not walking with your kids, the buddy system using siblings or neighbourhood kids is a good idea.
3. Walkers should not use cell phones while walking and should not wear headphones or earbuds. It’s vitally important to be fully aware of the surroundings.
4. If your kids will be bused, make sure you have confirmed with the school and bus company about the route, and the approximate pickup and drop off time. Be early, and accompany your kids to the bus stop on the first few days!
5. Put your home phone #, and your mobile phone # on the inside of your child’s jackets and backpacks. Work on having them memorize your phone # and home address.
6. Make sure your kids know that it’s never appropriate to accept a ride from a stranger or even a known adult without the absolute permission of the parent.
7. Teach children about stranger danger: Make sure kids know not to talk to strangers on their way home from school, even if they seem friendly or helpful. They should never accept gifts or rides from strangers. It’s also important to teach them about strangers whom they can go to for help in an emergency, such as police, security, or other parents with children.
8. When kids are the first to get home. They need to make sure the house is locked before walking in. They should look for red flags that might signal an intrusion. If something seems wrong, it is wrong. Kids should go to a predetermined safe place, such as a neighbour’s house and call their parents.
9. Set up your alarm system with “Smart Monitoring” where the alarm system will automatically send you a notification when your kids enter their alarm code. If you have surveillance cameras, they too can send you a clip when the kids arrive home.
10. Have a plan for lost keys: Even responsible children can lose keys. A lost key in your neighbourhood is a security problem. Make it easy for kids to stay safe and secure by investing in a lockset that can be easily rekeyed or a keyless entry system.
Back to School Safety …
A big part of safety and security is awareness and education. It’s easy to be complacent; we like to believe we are safe in our homes and communities. However, to ensure we remain safe and secure, requires us all to maintain a level of diligence.