For about 10 months each year, your children will spend most their time in school. School can be one of the safest places for your child, if you take some time out to put safety measures in place. Consider incorporating these safety tips into your back-to-school routine this year.
Discuss safety rules for the bus or walking.
Before the first day of school, set some ground rules for your children such as wearing a seatbelt on the bus, always staying on the sidewalk, looking both ways before crossing the road, and following crosswalk signals. Many schools have basic precautions for “walkers” at the end of the day, but be sure your child knows to only leave school when an administrator dismisses them.
Avoid labeling backpacks and jackets.
Although it comes in handy when you’re looking for your child’s items in a room full of 20 other children, it can be a dangerous thing when strangers call them by their names. If a child is called by his/her name by a stranger, they could assume the person knows them. If you must label the item, write it in the bottom of the backpack or the inside arm of the jacket where it is not easily seen or found.
Be sure your child knows his/her contact information.
It is important your child knows who will be transporting them to and from school, and always provide them with their emergency contacts. If you are not able to pick up your child from school, they should always know exactly who will be picking them up on your behalf. If someone else arrives, who they are unfamiliar with, it is important to teach them never to leave with anyone you have not advised them of and to speak with their teacher or a school employee immediately.
Consider investing in a cell phone.
For much younger children, there are many cell phones which can be pre-programmed with phone numbers in the case of an emergency. If your child is in trouble or there is an unforeseen circumstance, they will be able to call you to let you know what is going on and where they are. You should always set ground rules to let them know their cell phone is for emergencies, not leisure.
This is the most important thing for your child’s safety. When they come home from school, listen to what they have to say. Keep an eye on their moods, appetites and sleep cycles. Any drastic changes could indicate something is wrong at school. For example: inhaling their dinner could mean they skipped lunch. Having a hard time waking up in the morning when they went to bed on time could indicate they are not sleeping well at night. Instead of assuming they had a long day at school, it may be best to ask questions and have a conversation with your children.
By putting these safety measures into practice and being prepared, you can ensure everything goes smoothly this school year. Enjoy!