Back to school is always bittersweet. It can be hard to watch your kid get back on that bus, or scuff down the street to school in his oversized backpack. Even if you know he’s about to learn new things, reconnect with old friends, and continue coming into his own, the end of summer—and the changes it brings—are tough on kids and parents alike.
However, you can ease your mind, and your child’s, by taking this opportunity to hold your own series of lessons—about back-to-school safety. Especially since 76% of American children are home unsupervised after school, it’s vital that kids know certain safety and security procedures on their own. Here are some of the most vital tips for you to pass along.
It’s one of the first things parents teach their kids, and it seems simple to understand—”don’t talk to strangers, because they might not be nice.” However, when it comes to kids, understanding something and acting on it can be scarily different. A recent UK study, presented by the popular TV program Daybreak, recently made parents squirm all over the world:
During the study, a hired actor playing an unaccompanied man attempted to entice children to follow him out of a public park by telling them about a lost dog or a lost child. Terrifyingly, seven out of the nine children disobeyed their anti-stranger training and followed the man out of the park. As one shocked parent said afterwards:
“He led him out of the park and my son followed – I actually couldn’t believe it. I was horrified, but you know what, it’s a reality check. It showed me you cannot be naïve. You cannot trust that your kids know as much as you’ve told them.”
After you’ve stopped being thankful that you’re not watching your own kids go through this, take advantage of this reality check and sit them down for a refresher course on Stranger Danger. It certainly can’t hurt.
Easy Tips For In the Home
If you’re working full time and your kids come home to an empty house, you’re not alone! As we mentioned earlier, over 3/4ths of American childrens are latchkey kids for at least part of the day. Make sure yours is extra prepared using these in-home security tips:
- Teach your son or daughter to lock the front door as soon as it’s closed behind them.
- All other external doors should also be secure—but remember to have a fast exit plan in case of fire.
- Don’t answer the door! Children should never answer the front door to anyone when home alone. Even if it’s the postman.
Got Your Number
Your kid probably has a cell phone already, but that’s no use if it’s full of her friends’ phone numbers and none that she can call if there’s an emergency! Next time you catch her texting at the dinner table, give her a list of the following numbers to punch into her phone:
- Your direct work number
- Your cell number
- A trusted, nearby adult (neighbor, teacher, etc.)
- A trusted relative
That old staple, 9-1-1, is still powerful, but must be used with caution. Here are some helpful guidelines to help you teach your kids when they can and can’t ring it. And make sure they have their full name and full address memorized.
Peace of Mind
Fortunately, technology is keeping up with concerns over child safety. There is equipment out there that’s specifically designed to encourage secure habits while giving parents peace of mind at the same time.
Currently, one particular wireless home security system such as SimpliSafe, will send a SMS message to your cell phone informing you that your child has returned home. It will also inform you if the home security alarm system has been set (and if it hasn’t for whatever reason, you can set it remotely).
In addition, you can be alerted if internal sensors have been breached – useful if you have alcohol or gun cabinets around the home! Consider investing in something like this, and educate your home the same way that you’ve educated your kids.
What’s the most important safety tip you’ve made sure to get into your kids’ heads? Tell us in the comments!
This guest post was written by Cara Giaimo, a blogger for SimpliSafe Home Security. Cara typically covers issues related to home security, crime, and safety. As a youth she was so afraid of strangers that she refused to talk to her own relatives. SimpliSafe Wireless Home Security is making its way to the top of its industry.