Schools around the country will be opening soon. For kids, it can be a very exciting time – making new friends and learning new things. For parents, however, it can be the cause of some anxiety – especially for those whose children travel to and from school by themselves.
Charnel Hatting, Fidelity ADT’s national marketing and communications manager, suggests parents share the following tips with their kids to encourage them to practice these safety measures every day:
- Children must always walk to or from school with a friend, or friends. If your child walks alone, it’s a good idea to ask a teacher or other parents if they know of other kids from the area who do the same. Some towns have started “walking buses”, where local parents volunteer to walk to and from school with a group of school children, to assure their safety.
- Stick to streets you know and never take short cuts through unfamiliar or quiet areas.
- If you get picked up at school, always wait inside the grounds for your lift to arrive; do not leave the premises to go and look for them in the street.
- Remember, your parents would never send someone you don’t know to fetch you. Never get into a stranger’s car even if they claim that someone you love is hurt and that they are supposed to pick you up. It’s a good idea to consider using a password system, to ensure that the person collecting you is in fact a friend of your parents or someone you can trust.
- If a stranger approaches you, do not talk to them – no matter how friendly they may seem. If someone tries to grab you, fight, kick and scream that they are not your mom or dad.
In some cases, children have to see themselves to and from school and keep occupied until mom and dad return home in the evening. “It is extremely important that the kids know not to let anyone into the house without your permission. If you are going to be late, let your children know as soon as possible and give them an idea of when they can expect you to be home,” says Charnel.
She suggests drawing up a list of important telephone numbers. “This list must include emergency services and Mom and Dad’s work and cellphone numbers. Save it on your child’s cellphone, and stick it on, or near the landline. It’s also important to explain to them when these should be used.”
Charlene adds that if you have a home security system, everyone in the household (including children) should know how to use it. Everyone should also know when and how to use the panic buttons.