Child Safety Issues

Checklist for Children Returning to School

The following are tips to utilize so that your child can maintain proper safety measures in a number of scenarios:

  • Be sure your child knows his or her phone number and address, your work number, the number of another trusted adult, and how to use 911 for emergencies.
  • Plan a direct, safe way to walk to school or the bus stop with your child and take the time to walk it with them. Insist that they don't deviate from this route for any reason.
  • Teach children, whether walking, biking, or riding the bus, to obey all traffic signals, signs, crossing guards, and police officers. Remind them to use extra caution when the weather turns bad.
  • If possible, arrange for them to walk with friends, neighbors, a brother or sister, or a group.
  • When carpooling, pick up or deliver children as close to the school as possible. Make sure they are on school grounds or in the building before leaving.
  • Teach your child safety in regards to strangers. Remember that a stranger is anyone you or your children don't know well or don't trust.
  • Make sure your child checks in with a designated adult as soon as they arrive home from school. Make sure you know when activities will make them later than normal.
  • Take time to listen to your children and ask often how their school day went. Take any complaints about bullies, fears, or other concerns seriously and discuss them with the school if appropriate.

Children Home Alone

Most families in America have both parents working outside of the home. This certainly creates concern when children arrive home from school at 3 pm but Mom and Dad won't be there until after 5 pm. The following are some guidelines for parents who decide not to use a sitter or another responsible adult for supervision during that time period. Making sure your children know the safety rules will help them, and you, anytime you can't be together.

What You Can Do

  • Make sure your children are old enough and mature enough to care for themselves.
  • Teach them basic safety rules.
  • Know the three "W's" that are important whether you are home or not:
    • What - they are doing
    • Where - your children are
    • Who - they are with

Are They Ready

Ask yourself if your children can do the following:

  • Be trusted to go straight home after school?
  • Easily use the telephone, locks, and kitchen appliances?
  • Follow rules and instructions well?
  • Handle unexpected situations without panicking?
  • Stay alone without being afraid?

A Word About Curiosity

Are there things you don't want your children to get into? Take time to talk to them about the deadly consequences of the following dangers:

  • Cleaning products
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Guns
  • Inhalants
  • Medicines
  • Power tools

Make sure you keep these items in a secure place out of sight and locked up.

Teach Your "Home Alone" Children

  • How to call 911 for assistance
  • How to escape in case of a fire
  • How to use door and window locks and the alarm system if you have one
  • Never accept gifts or rides from people they don't know well and are approved by you in advance
  • Never let a caller at the door or on the phone know that they are alone. Teach them to say that mom/dad can't come to the phone or door right now
  • Never to let anyone into your home when adults aren't there unless you approve it
  • Not to go into an empty house or apartment if things don't look right - a broken window, ripped screen, or open door
  • That they must check in with you, a relative, or a neighbor every day. Set a reasonable time for them to arrive home and make clear what will happen if you don't receive their call
  • Their home address and directions to the home if necessary in case of emergency
  • To carry a house key with them in a safe place. Do not leave hidden keys outside of the home
  • To let you know about anything that frightens them or makes them feel uncomfortable