Summer Safety Tips for Neighborhood Kids
School’s. Out. For. Summer. You’re welcome…now you have the classic Alice Cooper song running through your head! Summer’s here and the sentiment of this song is exactly what’s running through your kid’s heads! They’re free at last! And for many of these kiddos, it means extra freedom to explore their neighborhoods whether on bikes, skateboards or on foot. However, your kiddos should know that with any freedom comes responsibility.
In order to ensure your child’s safe return home, parents and kiddos both need to increase their level of vigilance in the light of their new found freedom.
Eight safety tips to follow every time a child heads out the door:
- The Basics – Always make sure your child knows his or her full address and phone number before leaving the house. Should your child become unconscious when out and about, enclose a paper with this information in their wallet or pocket. Older children should also put to memory the full name, address, and phone number of another trusted adult who can be contacted in the event of an emergency.
- Set boundaries – Set clear landmark boundaries for where your child is permitted to play within the neighborhood. Make expectations clear… Are they allowed to cross at busy intersections? Ride on major roadways or outside of the neighborhood? Are there areas (such as alleyways or abandoned buildings) that you would like them to stay away from? When your children know what’s expected of them, it’s easier for them to comply.
- Have a buddy– Whenever possible, urge your child to take along a friend or sibling as this can deter would-be abductors. It’s also helpful to have and extra person who can seek help in case of accidents, injury, or other emergencies.
- Stranger Danger – Tell your children to stay away from strangers. Inform them of the basic tactics child abductors use to manipulate children (i.e. offering rides or candy, needing their help to find a dog, etc.) Empower your kids with the ability to say “no” to anything that makes them scared, uncomfortable, or confused.
- Know their whereabouts– Make it a house rule that your children must tell you or ask your permission before leaving the house (and make sure that you heard them). They should not just casually shout where they’re going at you while running out the door when you’re busy with your mind on something else. They must not leave until you’ve acknowledged that you’ve heard them and you signal permission. Have them check in periodically at agreed upon times and instill in them the importance of making those check-ins on time. Every moment lost in the life of a missing child is a crucial one. When possible, have your children leave a phone number of where they will be and/or have them carry their fully charged cell phone at all times.
- Get to know your children’s friends – Meeting the parents might seem old school, but it’s still one of the best ways to keep track of your kids. If you can’t meet face-to-face, a simple introductory phone call to gather pertinent information and keep the lines of communication open is important. Keep the list of their phone numbers handy in case of emergency or if you have questions about your children’s whereabouts. Always ask your children what kind of supervision will be present when allowing them to go to friends’ homes.
- Pedestrian and biking safety – Your child should have a good understanding of the rules for pedestrian and biking safety including how to properly cross a street, wear a helmet when riding, obey the rules of the road, and travel only on safe, agreed-upon routes.
- Know 911 – Teach them how, why and when to use it and what to expect once they are connected with a dispatcher.
Summer break is a time for fun and exploration. By following these safety guidelines, your child can feel free to gain amazing summer memories for years to come. Visit more information at http://saferide4kids.com/