Keeping kids safe when they leave the house for school every day is on every parents mind this time of year, here are some lessons your child needs to learn, before they head for the classroom. Your child should carry a maximum of 15% of their body weight in their backpacks. Check the pack for unnecessary items, consider having a second set of supplies at home so pencil cases, crayons, and other supplies do not need to be toted back and forth. Children riding the school bus should wait for the bus on the sidewalk and not approach the bus until the driver has come to a complete stop and has extended the stop arm. When getting off the bus and crossing the street, stay well in front of the bus so the driver can see that the child has crossed safely before they close the stop arm and proceed.
Many children who have their own cell phone have parents’ and emergency telephone number programmed as speed dials. While this is an important safety precaution always using speed dials mean that many children do not know their parents contact numbers. It is important that children have those numbers memorized in case their cell phone is not available and they need to contact you in an emergency. Most schools have implemented a program requiring guests to wear a visitors’ badge. If your child sees an unfamiliar adult in the school without a badge they should report it to a staff member.
Emergency drills at school need to be taken seriously. Your child needs to know where to go and what they should do in the case of an emergency. Many schools now practice lockdown drills in addition to fire and other emergency drills. Talk to your children about these drills to emphasize how important they are. Children who are home alone after school, no matter for how long, need to follow the rule “Never open the door”. When they arrive home, all doors should be locked behind them, and stay locked until a parent arrives. If someone comes to the door, no matter who it is, the door should not be opened.
School bullying is a serious safety issue that many parents have difficulty dealing with. If your child tells you they are being bullied, or about another child that is being bullied get involved. Don’t assume that it is just typical playground behavior that will work itself out. Make the school aware of the problem, it they do not deal with it request a meeting with the principal and the parents of the bully. If no action is taken, contact your local police station for advice.