After the school supplies have been bought and all the summer fun over and done with, it’s now time to consider an important issue: back to school safety.
While teachers and school personnel do their best to keep students away from harm, there are just too many children around for them to be able to give close supervision at times. Also, travelling to and from school whether by car, bus, bike, etc. simply leaves too many chances for accidents.
Luckily, we have done the research and consulted various experts in order to come up with some of the most important back to school safety tips for kids.
- Teach children to use the buddy system, whether they walk to and from school or wait at the bus stop. There is better safety in numbers. Also, for children who take the bus to school, make sure that they know their bus number and can identify the official vehicle at a glance.
- Caution children against taking shortcuts, or walking along paths were they cannot be seen nor heard. A few days before school starts, walk your child to and from school so that he or she becomes familiar with the walk route. Make sure that your child understands the importance of NEVER going out of the way.
- Only cross the street at the designated areas, and obey traffic signals and other signs. Younger children should be supervised when crossing, and parents need to really ensure that they know how stop, look, and listen for any incoming cars on both directions before going across.
- Train your child until he or she knows what to do when a stranger approaches: say NO, get away, and tell an adult who can be trusted about the incident as soon as possible. Tell them that they should keep a safe distance away from cars and other vehicles, including those driven by people who are supposedly asking for directions. Under no circumstances are they to get in a vehicle or come with a stranger.
- Use a secret password for the family, and teach your children that they shouldn’t go with anyone else without that password, not even someone whom they know (like a relative or a family friend). Make them realize that the family password will always be given to an authorized messenger or fetcher, and that they should be immediately suspicious if someone appears to be just guessing or asking for hints about it. Of course, your child should also be aware that the password should never be shared with anyone; they should avoid any discussion about it.
- Practice “what if” scenarios until you are convinced that your child can make good judgment calls when something unexpected comes up. Some of the more important what-if scenarios would include: what if someone tells you that a family member got in an accident and you needed to come with the stranger immediately? What if it starts to rain while you were walking to or from school? What if you suddenly felt dizzy or ill while en route to the school or to the house? What if someone takes away your phone, bag, watch, etc? Discuss every conceivable option for your child; role playing exercises are a good way to evaluate if your child really gets it.
If your child will be coming home to an empty house after school, this requires an entirely different set of safety regulations. You have to make sure that your child is mature enough to know what to do in an emergency, as well as well-versed on what not to do while alone in the house.
If an older child is looking after younger siblings, ensure that the child is up to this responsibility. If you can arrange it, have a trusted neighbor on hand just in case your child is afraid, uncomfortable, or unsure of what to do in a given situation.
Patric Seeley is a Global Brand Manager at Mattressnextday.co.uk/ -The online retailers of memory foam mattresses. We offer a wide range of mattresses whether you are looking for a double, single or kingsize.