Parents, review these 10 critical safety tips with your kids. Reinforce them daily and your kids will become safety experts in no time at all.
1. Always TAKE A FRIEND when walking or riding your bike to and from school. It’s safer and more fun to be with your friends. Walk and ride in well-lit areas, and never take short cuts. Follow all the bicycle rules, especially the one about riding on the right side of the street.
2. Stay with a group while waiting at the bus stop. If anyone bothers you while going to or from school, get away from that person, and TELL a trusted adult like your parents or teacher. If an adult approaches you for help or directions, remember grownups needing help should not ask children for help; they should ask other adults.
3. If someone you don’t know or feel comfortable with offers you a ride, say NO. Never hitchhike, and only accept a ride from someone if your parents have told you it is okay.
4. If someone follows you on foot, get away from him or her as quickly as you can. If someone follows you in a car, turn around and go in the other direction. Always be sure to TELL your parents or a trusted adult what happened.
5. If someone tries to take you somewhere, quickly get away and yell, “This person is trying to take me away!” or “This person is not my father (mother)!”
6. Never leave school with someone you don’t feel comfortable with or know. Always CHECK FIRST with your parents or another trusted adult. If someone you don’t know or feel comfortable with tells you that there is an emergency and they want you to go with them, always CHECK FIRST before you do anything. Make sure you TELL a trusted adult if you notice someone you don’t know hanging around.
7. Leave items and clothing with your name on them at home. If someone you don’t know calls out your name, don’t be fooled or confused.
8. If you want to change your plans after school, always CHECK FIRST with your parents. Never play in parks, malls, or video arcades by yourself. Make sure you have your parents’ permission, and they know where you are going to be. Never accept money or gifts from anyone until you CHECK FIRST with your parents.
9. If you go home alone after school, check to see that everything is okay before you go in. Once inside, call your parents to let them know that you are okay. Make sure you follow your “Home Alone” rules of keeping the door locked; not opening the door for or talking to anyone who stops by unless the person is a trusted family friend or relative, you feel comfortable being alone with that person, and the visit has been pre-approved by your parents; and not telling people who call that you are home alone. Have a neighbor or trusted adult that you can call if you’re scared or there’s an emergency.
10. Trust your feelings. If someone makes you feel scared or uncomfortable, get away as fast as you can and TELL a trusted adult. You deserve to feel safe, and you should keep asking until you get the help you need.