Back-to-school can be a very stressful period for both parents and children, particularly in troubling and uncertain times. However, the personal safety of children is of the utmost importance. Please take a few minutes to review the following safety tips with your child and help make back-to-school a smooth and safe transition!
- Ensure your child knows his complete name, address and telephone number.
- Remind your child to always ask for permission before going anywhere. You must always know where your child is at all times. Remember to keep them informed of your whereabouts as well.
- There is safety in numbers. A child who is accompanied by a friend is less likely to be accosted by an individual with questionable intentions.
- Keep a safe distance. Make sure your child understands that they do not have to engage in conversations with adults who approach them.
- Where to go for help if needed. Teach your child to always stay on the designated route when walking to and from school and identify safe havens along the route where they can seek refuge if they need help (offices, restaurants, fire station, police station, public phone where they can call 911).
- Create a secret family password to be used in an emergency.
- Avoid identifying items with your child’s name clearly visible on them (lunch box, coat, school bag, etc.). A child will respond more readily to a stranger if they are addressed by name. We suggest writing their name on the inside of their belongings.
- Make sure your child’s school has up-to-date emergency contact information. Ask the school what the procedures are for picking up children so that only those adults that you have authorized can pick up your child.
- Always carry current identification of your child.
- Make sure your child understands that they can always talk to you. Make your home a place of trust and support that fulfills your child’s needs. Create a trusting and open relationship with your child. Talk to them and listen attentively to their needs. Remind them to never hesitate to confide anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.
Prevention and education are without a doubt the most effective means to significantly protect children from abduction, aggression or exploitation.
The Missing Children’s Network is pleased to offer age-appropriate safety workshops for students in Grades 3-7. For more information about our safety programs, we invite you to contact our offices at 514 843.4333.
Wishing all children and their parents a safe and happy school year!