Back-to-School Safety Tips
In my neck of the woods, school starts tomorrow. But amid all of the excitement and ceremony that comes with the rite of passage that is the first day of a new school year, it's important to remember that there are things that need to be considered so our kids stay safe. Here are a few tips to help keep your kids safe this school year.
Be careful with your social media posts
The first day of school means that your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds will almost certainly be filled up with first-day photos. Before you post, however, keep these things in mind:
Don't post a picture of your child that gives away what school they go to. Hackers can get a hold of that photo and they will instantly know where to find your child.
The same goes for a picture of your child in uniform. If your child does wear a uniform, perhaps have them cover the crest on their shirt with the strap of their backpack, or take the photo of them from a bit of a distance so the name of the school isn't easily visible.
If you are going to post a picture of your child getting on the bus, be sure the name of the school is not visible in the bus window.
Label your child's belongings mindfully
Most schools will request that you label your child's belongings so they can be returned to them should they go missing. However, it's important to do so with your child's safety in mind. If you are going to label their backpacks (and I strongly suggest you do) don't label it on the outside, where a stranger could easily see his or her name. This is especially dangerous for young children, because they will be inclined to trust an adult who approaches them and knows their name. Instead, put the label on the inside.
Review safety procedures
Each school year, it's important to review the safety procedures you have in place with your child. Let them know that only certain people are allowed to pick them up from school and be sure they know and can identify those people. Reinforce that they are not to leave school with anyone other than those people. It's also a good idea to have a code word in place, so that if someone other than your authorized people does try to talk to your child or convince them to go with them, the child only has to ask "what's the password?" to know whether they are a safe person or not. Be sure your child knows the password.
Review bus safety procedures at this time, too, as well as the walking route if they walk home from school. Remind them that they are not to talk to strangers and that they should never veer from the designated walking route.
It can be scary for both parents and children to think about the dangerous things that can happen. Going over these safety precautions is not designed to be an exercise in scare tactics. It is designed to make both you and your children aware of potential dangers so you can do everything within your power to avoid them.
Have a safe and happy school year!