As an Orange County injury attorney I start thinking about back to school safety in mid August each year. The National Safety Council issued an article recently which discussed some safety tips, including prevention of bullying and playground safety. In an article in Your Houston News a much more comprehensive list of safety tips was provided. Here is a list of suggestions from both articles.
- Give your child a secret word.
- Review the “stranger equals danger” rules with your child.
- Put your child’s name inside the child’s backpack and not the outside.
- Start slowing down around school yards now.
- Start watching for stopped school buses.
- Make no mobile phone calls when driving around school yards.
Secret word for child to use
It is a good idea to have a word that only your child and the family know. A stranger may come and tell the child “Your parents are hurt and they want you to come with me”. If that happens the child can say “What is the secret word?” If the stranger does not know the secret word the child should be instructed to run and find help.
I know about this because it happened in our family. Our secret word was “Airplane.” When a stranger tried to trick my ten year old daughter outside of school she asked him for the secret word. When he didn’t know the word she took off for the school office. I am convinced that stranger was trying to abduct her and am so glad that we had a secret word.
Stranger equals Danger Rule
You should review with your child what to do if a stranger approaches. The child should be taught that if a stranger approaches the child should shelter with known adults quickly. The child should also be taught that if the child is unable to shelter and a stranger approaches the child needs to start runing away immediately.
The child should also be taught that if a stranger reaches to touch the child to simultaneously start screaming “get away from me” and run away. The child should also be taught that if the child is grabbed the child must fight to escape while still screaming and trying to run away. This could be a true life and death situation and the sooner the child fights, as hard as possible, the better the chances of escape.
Child’s name inside backpack not outside backpack
It is not a good idea to have strangers knowing the names of your children. If a stranger calls your child by his or her name the child may think that the person knows them. This can allow the stranger to get closer to your child if the child thinks that the stranger can be trusted.
Driving carefully around schools
Being an Orange County accident and injury attorney I am always thinking about the safety of pedestrians and drivers. Slowing down around school yards, watching for stopped school buses and making no mobile phone calls when driving around school yards are common sense things most of us know about.
The problem is that we forget about them when school yards are empty and there are no children walking to and from school. We all need to start thinking about the fact that in late summer the children start going back to school and will be around the school yards soon. If we all start thinking about that fact we can help assure that the children are safe and well as they start their next school year