Get ready parents — back to school time is just around the corner. Here are five tips you should go over with your kids, or maybe brush up on so that they can stay safe over the course of this upcoming school year.
- Bus Safety: Not every parent can have the joy of being able to drive their child to school every day. If your kid has to take the bus to and from school, make sure that they know the route. Try taking a day off of work and ride the bus with them once or twice, so you know that they know where they will be stopping. Let them know that if they see stops that are unfamiliar that they should alert the bus driver and let the driver know they are on the wrong bus. There are also general bus stop rules that you should make sure your child knows such as never walk behind the bus, stay seated while the bus is in motion, keep a safe distance from the bus when it arrives, and to listen to the bus driver.
- Bike Safety: If your child is old enough to ride a bike to school and you live close enough to the school, make sure you freshen up on some bike safety rules. The most important rule for bicycle riding is to always wear a helmet. If your your child thinks that wearing a helmet is “uncool” try letting them go to the store with you and letting them pick out a helmet that they think is cool. Make sure your child knows how to correctly lock up their bike and where they should lock it up at school. Let them know that other people steal things, and their bike is at risk at being stolen if it is not locked up properly. If you want more information on bike safety for children, check out this website: http://smartkids101.com/blog/bicycle-safety/
- Social Media/Internet Safety: This one goes for parents and kids. Every parent wants to show off their kid’s first day of school on social media, but make sure you don’t give away any personal information about your child. The personal information you want to be careful about sharing is your child’s name, where they go to school, the name of their teacher, their bus route number, and trickiest of all, make sure that your house number isn’t in any of these photos. Child predators search for these types of things and if you post it on the Internet that makes your child an easier target. If your girl or boy has a cell phone make sure you have the correct parental controls on that device. Also make sure that privacy settings on certain applications are in place, so that anyone you don’t know can see what your child is up to. If your teen or child is fighting against you about privacy settings, make sure you stress the importance of them and why they have to use them. Check up on their accounts from time to time to make sure your rules are still in place.
- Stranger Danger: Your child should know not to talk to strangers, but it is YOUR job to make sure that they know WHY they should not to talk to strangers. Go over trusted adults in your community such as police officers, certain business owners, teachers, and other adults that work within the school. Let them know that these are people who they can go to when they feel they are in danger. Also teach them that if they ever feel uncertain or uncomfortable with someone that they don’t know, they have the right to scream “no” and run for help at any time.
- Plan of Action: Bad things happen. No one likes to think that their kid is at risk of being in any kind of danger, but unfortunately they are. Going over these safety tips can reduce your child’s risk of being in danger, but it is always good to have a plan of action just in case something goes wrong. Maybe invest in an emergency satellite phone so your child can always call 911. Let your boy or girl know that screaming for help is ok, especially in public places. Last but not least, make sure that your child knows your home address and how to get home just in case they ever get lost, and somehow need to find their way back home.
Hopefully you find some time to go over some new rules and safety tips with your child so that everyone can have a fun and safe school year.