As August approaches and everyone heads back to school, remaining vigilant about safety is important. Check out these tips from our criminal justice department to help keep everyone safe this school year!
Here are 15 things you can do to support child safety:
- Teach children to recognize and obey traffic signs, signals, markings and rules, such as look both ways before crossing and never enter the street from between obstacles like a parked car or bush. Make sure teen drivers understand and obey all traffic laws, such as not using a cell phone in a school zone and no texting while driving.
- If a child walks to school, adults should also teach them landmarks and safe places to go if they ever need help. Complete the walk to school with them a few times. Bright colored clothing will make your child more visible to drivers.
- Always use designated pedestrian crossing places, and never enter streets from cars, bushes, or other obstacles- these can obstruct a car’s view of you as you cross.
- Make sure children know not to walk in front of their bus. The first 10 feet in front of a bus is the driver’s blind spot, a dangerous location that should be avoided.
- Children should always board and exit the bus at designated locations that provide safe access to the bus or to the school building.
- Use backpacks with wide straps and padding in the back. Backpacks should not weigh more than 10 – 15% of a child’s weight, or the child is at risk for difficulty balancing and back injuries.
- Put heavier items into a child’s backpack first. Heavier items should be closer to the child’s back to help limit strain.
- Teach children not to talk to strangers, and to get distance between themselves and any unfamiliar person who tries to approach them. Even if they do know them, make sure children know not to get into a car with anyone without permission.
- There is strength in numbers; walk with a friend(s). If a stranger approaches a child, ensure that the child knows to report the incident to a responsible adult as soon as possible.
- Teach children their emergency contact information, meaning their phone number, their address, their parent’s phone numbers and how to dial 911.
- Always go straight home after school. Do not go anywhere else without permission.
- Use all compartments in a child’s backpack and evenly distribute weight to prevent injury.
- Advise children about carrying or wearing items that visibly display their name. A personalized backpack might be cute, but it also gives strangers information about a child that they could use to try to sign the child out of school, or convince the child that they know them.
- Bike riders should always wear a helmet.
- Remind your child not to walk, run or ride a bicycle down railroad tracks. It’s illegal and dangerous.