09 Jul The Essentials of Back to School Safety
The air is crisp, the leaves are turning and the sun is going down earlier. These are all signs that fall is upon us. But that also means children are back to school, summer vacations have come to an end and the roads are busier. With all of the people, buses and cars on the streets, it’s a great time to review some safety tips with your kids to help keep them safe.
There have been some incidents of attempted and actual child abductions in the GTA recently, and it’s a great idea to talk to your kids about talking to strangers. Some predators have been known to lure kids in with puppies or candy or some other child attraction are in a van waiting and all the child has to do is come with the stranger. Teach your kids that no matter what they are offered, never to go anywhere with a stranger. Let them know its ok to tell a teacher if someone is making them uncomfortable or asking them to come somewhere with them.
Another trick some predators use to lure kids is that they are a friend of their parents, and they were told to come pick them up. Talk to your kids about a code word or phrase, so if you do have to have someone else pick them up, the person can give your kid the code word and they will know it’s safe. It’s also important to tell your kids it’s a secret code word and no one should be told this.
Safety Tips for Walking to School
If your kids walk to school, teach them how to cross the street, even if you are going with them, show them the important steps of watching traffic, crossing with a cross guard or about the traffic lights. Show your kids the hazards, like train tracks, and busy intersections, and teach them the safety rules of crossing these hazardous areas. If you are ready to let your kids make their way to school on their own, run through a few trials with them first, making sure they have the capacity to pay attention and arrive safely.
For kids who are taking the bus, its important they understand the importance of showing up to the bus stop early, and not darting out in front of the bus or chasing after it if they miss it. Once kids are on the bus, children should take a seat as quickly as possible, keep their back packs with them and not stick anything including heads, arms and legs out the windows.
When getting off the bus at home, even though most people stop for school bus stop signs, some do not. It is important that its ingrained into children’s heads to look both ways and make sure there are no cars coming before crossing the street. Make sure if they do see a car coming, they stop and wait until the car comes to a full stop before proceeding to cross.
Safety doesn’t stop when kids are home. Some kids will be home by themselves for a few hours before parents get home. Teach them to go right inside as soon as they get home, lock the doors and not to answer the door again for anyone until after a parent or guardian is home. Have them call you so you know they are inside. Even if you can’t take calls at work, you can see the missed call and know they are safe.
Kids shouldn’t be turning on stoves or ovens and should be taught to make themselves a light healthy snack for themselves. Once you are comfortable with them turning on the stove, there are many websites that can show you how to run through cooking safety tips with your kids.
Its also important to tell your kids that if they are answering the phone, never to say they are home alone, they should tell callers that parents aren’t able to come to the phone. Put locks on the computers so kids can’t be online and not monitored. There are lots of predators online that can access your kids from their own home. Make sure your kids aren’t able to get online when you aren’t there to watch what they are doing, and keep computers in a family room, or other area where you can keep your eye on them.
This is of course, not an exhaustive list of safety tips and is only meant to cover some basics. There are some great resources online such as safekids.org, and canadasafetycouncil.org. You can even go online to childsafetykit.ca and get a free kit with essentials in the event your child is missing. Stay safe, and we wish you a happy back to school season.