It’s amazing how fast summer is flying by, and with just a few short weeks until school is back in session, now is the time to talk to your children about managing difficult situations and staying safe.
The Baltimore County Police Department has issued several tips for parents and community members to help kids stay safe while traveling to and from school. It’s imperative that these lessons come from parents, as well as local police and teachers.
1. Lock your doors. The few minutes you spend walking your children to the bus stop could open your home to a burglar. A predator doesn’t always wait for it to be dark to strike. In fact, daytime robberies are quite common since people are often at work or school. Regardless of how “safe” your neighborhood seems, teach your children a simple lesson by locking the windows and doors. You'll teach them that it’s OK to be cautious. You can even get the kids involved—give them age-appropriate tasks to get them involved in locking down the house before you leave. Always be on the lookout for suspicious strangers lurking on sidewalks and notify police if you suspect someone is up to no good.
2. Remember Stranger Danger. This is also a great time to review with your children what to do if a stranger approaches them and how to respond. It’s important that you continuously review this with your children so they understand the consequences of what can happen. Use current news stories to discuss real threats to your children and teach them to trust their instincts. While they may want to help the grown-up who approaches them, if it doesn’t feel right, just say "no."
Police also reminded parents that embroidering your child’s name on his or her backpack, jacket or lunch box could give a potential kidnapper a conversation starter with your child. A monogram is a much safer alternative.
3. All drivers need to be patient and wait for school buses. Regardless of whatever meeting or appointment you might be late for, slow down and stop for children at bus stops. Children can be unpredictable and can dart out into the road unexpectedly. It is also a Maryland Law to come to a complete stop on both sides of the street. Drivers who do not abide by this could face serious consequences including fines up to $570 and up to 3 points on their driving records.
Be sure to get this school year off to a safe start and review these topics with your children.