Now that school has been in session for a few weeks, it’s a great time to take a few minutes and review with your children some safety guidelines about going to and from school. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children found that approximately 36 percent of attempted non-family abductions happened when a child was going to or from school, or a school-related activity. With this fact in mind here are a few tips for parents that will help our school children with a safer journey.
If your children are walking to school always try to have them walk with a friend, and stay together until they are at the school. Walk with your children at least once so they know what the best and safest way to school is. Taking shortcuts or going into isolated areas should not be part of the trip to school. Keeping children in the most public areas, with sidewalks will provide the most safety. Of course not talking to someone they do not know and trust is of primary concern. Teach them to say NO to any person they do not know well, offers a ride to them, or who makes them feel scared.
When children ride a bike to school, make sure they are wearing a helmet. It is reported that helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent. Children riding bikes to school should obey the rules of the road, stay on the right side of the road, and ride in the same direction as the traffic. Traffic can be very heavy right before or after school, and the children should be aware of cars and be on the lookout for them.
Students riding the bus to school should arrive at their bus stop two to three minutes before the bus arrives and never accept any ride to school other than the school sponsored bus system. They should always follow the directions of the bus driver and be seated immediately.
No matter if the children walk, bike, or take a bus, they should always come directly to school and go directly home or a parent’s designated spot. It seems that children forget to tell their parents that they are heading to their friend’s place after school and that causes a lot of parents and school officials to become very anxious. Luckily, 99.9 percent of the calls that come to the school from parents looking for their children are a result of students who took off with friends to play. Please remind your students to contact you first before leaving to play with a friend. Knowing the whereabouts of our children at all times is the single, most important thing we as parents can do.