Safety Tips for a Successful Academic Year
It's that time of year again!
As summer days grow shorter, and temperatures get cooler, children across our communities are heading back to school this fall.
Parents and children in our area are observing the timeless tradition of getting ready for a new school year. It’s a time for both new beginnings and new challenges. As exciting as a fresh school year may be, it can also be a time when children and students are at an increase for safety risks. Whether you are sending your child off to school for their first day of kindergarten, or dropping them off at their last semester of college, the following tips can help make this a safe and happy school year for students and families alike.
Tips for Parents of Elementary Students:
1. Help your children learn and practice the safety rules for walking, bicycling, or riding in a vehicle or bus to and from school.
2. Supervise young children as they are walking or biking to school, or as they wait at the school bus stop.
3. Ensure your child has a clear understanding of who will be dropping them off at school and/or picking them up from school. If plans change, be sure to notify the school promptly.
4. Create safety plans with your child that help identify which adults (school staff, trusted teacher, counselor, etc.) your child can talk to if they feel threatened or unsafe at school.
5. Ensure that your child knows how to reach you (or another family member or friend) in case of a crisis during the school day.
6. Talk to your children about strangers. It's common for children to think that all "bad" strangers look scary. Not only is this untrue, it can also be dangerous, as "nice" looking people can also be just as threatening. It is important to teach children to be careful around all strangers.
7. Talk to your children about safe strangers too. Many times "safe strangers" can be okay to trust when in an emergency. Police officers and firefighter are examples of "safe strangers".
Tips for Parents of Junior High and High School Students:
1. Encourage your child to get to know their peers and school faculty and staff. Finding people they trust and rely on is very important if a personal or safety issue arises.
2. Have your child get to know his/her school and the areas surrounding the school. Discuss safety plans and options in case of an emergency.
3. Bullying and harassment may occur in the school setting. Ask for the school’s policy on bullying and harassment. Make sure your child has an understanding on bullying/harassment policies and other rules they are expected to follow.
4. Talk to your children about being both safe drivers and passengers at school and on the streets. Discuss the use of seat belts, as well as proper seating, the avoidance of distracting behaviors, and following directions at all times.
Tips for College Students:
1. Do not let anyone into your dorm building or apartment building that you do not personally know or have not seen frequently enough to know whether or not they live in the building.
2. Lock your doors at all times. Even though you may just be leaving your dorm room for a quick snack at the vending machine, or to chat with a friend down the hall, these may be opportune times for someone to steal your valuables.
3. Familiarize yourself with campus resources. Many campuses offer a variety of resources for the support of student’s mental, physical, emotional, and academic success.
4. Use a “buddy” when walking to your car late at night. Walk in well-lit areas. Have your keys ready and out of your purse or backpack. Stay off of your cell phones and be aware of your surroundings. Check out whether or not your campus offers vehicle escorts after dark.
5. Be careful of what you post on social media. “Checking in” wherever you are and posting photos with details of your whereabouts not only gives away your current location, but also tells people that you are not home, and provides a map of your routinely visited places.
6. When in social settings, go with people whom you trust. Agree to watch out for each other and make a plan for the evening. Drink only from unopened containers and do not leave your drink unattended. Trust your instincts!
For more child safety tips, please visit the National Safety Council at: www.nsc.org/act/events/Pages/keep-children-safe-at-school.aspx
To learn more about college campus health and safety visit: www.cdc.gov/features/collegehealth
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