Back-to-school is without a doubt an exciting time for families, but let’s face it – it can also be stressful for parents and children alike. With multiple schedules to coordinate, lunches to pack, and homework to get done, it’s easy to get caught in the hustle and bustle of the school year and let our guard down when it comes to child safety.
TMC’s Security Services and the Crime Prevention K9 Unit offer the following information about simple things caregivers can do, and meaningful conversations they can have with the children in their care.
DPS Sex Offender website
Take a few minutes and locate where registered sex offenders are in your neighborhood, by your child’s school, or any other parts of town you visit frequently. The Arizona Department of Public Safety created this user-friendly website: http://www.azdps.gov/Services/Sex_Offender/
Analysis from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children found that approximately 32 percent of abduction attempts happened when a child was going to or from school, or a school-related activity. The five most common tricks used by individuals attempting to abduct a child included offering the child a ride, offering the child candy or sweets, asking the child questions, offering the child money or using an animal to lure them into their car.
▪ Tell your children they should never go anywhere with anyone without first getting your permission, even if someone tells them it is an emergency.
▪ Set clear boundaries about the places and homes your child may visit.
▪ Make it a rule for your children to check in with you when they arrive at or depart from a location.
▪ Talk openly with your child.
∙ Encourage them to tell you or another trusted adult if anyone makes them feel scared, confused or sad.
∙ Teach them that it is OK to tell you what happened and they won’t be a “tattletale” for telling.
∙ Help your children identify trusted adults who may be able to help them if they need assistance.
∙ Pay attention to your children and listen to them, as this will help them build feelings of safety and security.
Empower your child with this information in the event they are approached or followed
▪ Tell your child it is more important to get out of a threatening situation than it is to be polite.
▪ If they are approached by someone who makes them feel uncomfortable, tell them to trust their gut feeling, and get away.
▪ If someone tries to kidnap them, tell them to do anything they can to draw attention to themselves – yell, kick, scream, pull away, or hit.
Getting to and from school safely
School buses are the safest mode of motorized transportation for getting children to and from school, but injuries can occur if kids are not careful and aware when getting on and off the bus.
▪ Walk with your child to the bus stop and wait with them until it arrives.
▪ Make sure children stand at least three giant steps back from the curb as the bus approaches.
∙ Young children do not have the same frame of reference for safety as adults do.
∙ They may not look before they leap, which is why it is so important for them to be supervised.
▪ Teach kids to wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before getting off, and remind them never to walk behind the bus.
∙ If your child needs to cross the street after exiting the bus, they should take five giant steps in front of the bus, make eye contact with the bus driver and cross when the driver indicates it’s safe.
∙ Teach kids to look left, right and left again before crossing the street.