We remind all parents and guardians to review with their children these simple safety rules for walking to and from school. Here are some suggestions for parents to discuss with their children:
1) Teach your child to memorize important information: Have your child memorize important addresses such as their home address and important telephone numbers – their parents’ work numbers, home numbers, or the number of a trusted neighbour – and go over these on a regular basis so they know who they should call if they find themselves lost or in need of help.
2) Dial 911 – Instill in your children that 911 is the number to call if they feel they are in danger.
3) Talk about what a stranger is: Reinforce for your child that strangers come in all shapes and sizes – even those who act friendly. For younger children, start by telling them who is not a stranger first, and then explain that everyone else is.
4) Tell your child what to do if a car approaches: Tell your child that adults rarely go to a child to ask for directions or to help them. Teach them never to approach a stranger’s car and to move away from a car that pulls up beside them. If they think they are being followed, they should run to the nearest store to ask a cashier for help or to another public place, such as a post office, to seek assistance. Talk to your child and share a “secret password” with them. This password should be used any time that you cannot meet your child when agreed upon. If a stranger seeks to tell your children that “their mom asked him to pick them up” the children can ask for the password to assure themselves the request is legitimate.
5) If a stranger attempts to abduct a child: Teach your child that if a stranger ever attempts to grab them against their will, they should drop to the ground and throw a tantrum: kick, bite and scratch, scream, scatter their books and repeatedly yell “This is not my mother/father” to get noticed.
6) Tell your child to report any such incidents to you and then you should notify police and the school. If there is further information that needs to be shared with families, we’ll send it out as quickly as possible.