Alpharetta police Officer David Tobias gives residents some back to school tips for safety.
With today’s technological world, kids need to know more phone numbers than ever before. This is especially true for kids that are from split families. To make things a little easier, type everyone’s numbers that the kids might need on a piece of paper or a card.
When you are done, have the cards laminated. If the kids are old enough to carry a wallet, it will slip inside easily. If they are younger, you can punch a hole in the card and lace it into their school backpack, so they will not lose it. Also, make sure their school has updated contact information.
Please be sure everyone is properly seat-belted into your vehicle before putting the car into gear. Younger kids should be in car seats or booster seats, and they should sit in the back seat if they are under 12 years old. Drop the kids as close to the school as possible. If the school has a drop off area, be sure to use it. Do not set a bad example by dropping them in a dangerous location. If the kids are young, wait until they are in the school yard or building before you leave.
Walking to school the safe way
Plan the route your kids are going to take if they are walking to school. It is important to try to minimize the number of streets they have to cross. Keep it as simple as possible. Then, do a dry run with your kids. You should have them do it at least once on their own before the first day of school, so they feel comfortable. Teach your kids to keep away from vacant lots, fields and any other locations that have few people around.
Also, please make sure that your kids do not walk alone, especially if they are young. Creeps look for the kids that are all alone. It is much more difficult to deal with a bunch of kids, so they normally do not do it.
Family meeting spot
Make sure to pick out a family meeting spot that can be used in case of an emergency. Parents with kids in middle school and high school should make sure they do not forget this. When there is a crisis, things get confusing. If they know where they are supposed to meet you, you will both be calmer. In any emergency, please tell your kids (who carry cell phones) to call 911 first. We can’t help you if we don’t know something is happening.
Teach your kids not to talk to strangers. They should not accept presents or rides from them. Also, be sure to pick a family password. This word will be used if someone different is picking them up from school, sports or other locations. It should be a weird word, like spaghetti. One that someone would not be able to guess. If too many people have heard your word, change it.
After school safety
If the kids are alone after school for a short time, make sure that they follow some basic guidelines:
They should keep the doors locked.
They should never tell someone on the phone that there are no adults at home. Teach them to say that you can’t come to the phone right now.
Post a list of emergency phone numbers near the phone.
Have them call you at work or on your cell phone as soon as they get home.
Set up rules on what kind of food they can fix. Younger children should never use the stove without adult supervision.
Be sure to set up guidelines on who they can have over (if anyone) and what they are allowed to do. Also, tell your close neighbors to call 911 if they see any suspicious activity.