Friday, August 28, 2015

Walking from School Safety Tips {Mommy Cab Discussions}

Written by, Bernadyn Nettles

Safety Tips for Kids

In a recent car ride, we had a Mommy Cab Discussion where I reminded my son about safety tips walking from school.  I remember when my parents moved my siblings and me to our new neighborhood (way back when I was a kid), we started going to a new elementary school that was close enough for us to be able to walk home.  At the time, both my parents worked during the day so I walked home home with my older brother and some other neighborhood children.  Our middle school was close enough, as well, to walk from so we did.  Now that I'm a parent and we just moved to a new home where the school is right next door, I'm finding myself walking from school again!  I have been walking my son everyday since he went back to school last week and it made me realize there's so many safety precautions I did not even think to warn him about for when he is a bit older and starts walking home with a group of friends.

I am grateful that my son's school is close enough to walk because it does save us more time and gas compared to daily driving.  I feel that the area is safe and plenty of kids walk around here so I'm sure other parents feel the same, however, you can never be too sure.  I'm not just talking about stranger danger but other safety precautions to teach our kids to avoid situations they may not realize are dangerous.

Safety Tips to Teach Our Kids When Walking To and From School:

Stranger Danger: If your child will be walking without you or another adult, then, this is a big one that we need to make sure we teach our kids while they are young and to repeat it again when they start walking on their own.

  • Remind them to never get in a car or walk home with a stranger or even if it is someone they know. If you didn't specifically tell them ahead of time that this certain person would pick them up, then it's better to be safe and politely decline.  Teach them what to say.
  • I observed an actual example of this happening to another child the first week of my son's school.  A boy walked out of school and ran into an adult he clearly knew and the adult kindly offered for the child to go ahead and just walk home with them.  The child declined, mentioning he was told not to go home with anyone else.  The man completely understood and acknowledged the boy's answer as the right response to give. 
  • Walk in groups.  If possible, get to know who the other children are walking to the same neighborhood and see if your child can walk with them.  
  • Don't give out your name or address to strangers. 
(To read more about keeping kids safe from getting lost or kidnapped, read this previous Mommy Cab Discussion post)

Other Safety Tips for Kids to Remember While Walking:

Wait for the crossing guard to walk you across the street.
  • Always look both ways before crossing.
  • Don't try to run just to beat a vehicle to get to the other side of the street.  It's safer to wait until they pass.
  • Wear your bicycle helmet if you're riding a bike.  
  • Follow the route your parents showed you and don't make any detours on the way to or from school.
  • Don't touch anything on the ground: I didn't even think of this one until it happened while I was walking to my son's school with my three year old.  She saw an object on the ground that she said could be a toy and wanted to pick it up.  I had to tell her no, although, we have told her about this before but she got excited since it looked like a toy. Remind kids to never pick up anything from the ground.  You just never know what could be on it and it could potentially be dangerous.
  • Bring a water bottle to avoid dehydration and maybe snacks to keep you energized.
  • Consider wearing a hat.
  • Wear sunscreen.
  • Be sure not to enter construction zones.

  • If it has been raining, avoid ground that may be more dangerous when it becomes wet or muddy. 
  • Check the weather before school to know how to properly dress and if you need to carry an umbrella. 

  • If using a bike or scooter, regularly check it for any loose screws, flat tires, etc.
  • Know your address and parents' phone numbers.
  • Call your parents or guardians once you arrive home.
  • Don't enter your house if something looks suspicious. Go to a neighbor's house whom you trust to call your parents.
  • If your child will be home alone after school, remind him of how to stay safe (don't turn on the stove, don't answer the door, etc.).

Going back to school can be challenging but should still be fun!  Kids can have fun while still being safe.  There are a few things that we need to keep in mind to stay safe in all areas of our kids' lives. 
Aside from safety precautions to take while walking, another one that is worth mentioning is to keep our kids safe from school supply materials that could be toxic.  I want to share this article by the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance that shows possible asbestos in children's supplies and toys.  Check it out to learn more!

Some ways you can keep your kids safe from these toxins
  • Buy BPA-free items
  • Research what's inside products
  • Read reviews
  • Buy green, Eco-friendly items
  • Avoid products with warning labels

Do your kids walk to or from school?  What are some other safety tips you may have?

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