Help your child get to school safely by reviewing the following safety tips:
Have your children put everything they carry in a backpack or school bag so that they won’t drop things along the way. Have them wear bright, contrasting colors so they will be easily seen by drivers. Make sure they leave home on time so they can walk to the bus stop and arrive before the bus is due. Running can be dangerous and diverts the child’s attention away from traffic.
Walking to the Bus Stop
Walk your young children to the bus stop and have older children walk in groups. There is safety in numbers; groups are easier for drivers to see. Practice good pedestrian behavior. Your children should walk on the sidewalk, if there is no sidewalk, they should stay out of the street. If they must walk in the street, they should walk single file, face traffic and stay as close to the edge of the road as they can. Tell your child to stop and look left, right and the left again if they must cross the street. They should do the same thing at driveways and alleys. Exaggerate your head turns and narrate your actions so your child knows you are looking left, right and left again.
Getting On and Off the Bus
Warn children that if they drop something, they should never pick it up. Instead, they should tell the driver and follow the driver's instructions. If they bend over to pick up a dropped object, they might not be seen by the driver and could be hurt if the driver pulls away from the stop. Remind children to look to the right before they step off the bus. Drivers in a hurry sometimes try to sneak by buses on the right. Teach your children to secure loose drawstrings and other objects that may get caught in the handrail or door of the bus as they are exiting. Give your child a note or follow the school's procedures if you would like for the child to get off at a stop other than the one they are assigned. The driver isn't allowed to let a child off at another stop without written permission. If you meet your child at the bus stop after school, wait on the side where the child will be dropped off, not across the street. Children can be so excited at seeing you after school that they dash across the street and forget the safety rules.
Riding the Bus
Children should talk quietly, be courteous to the driver and follow the driver's instructions. Children should stay seated during the entire bus ride and keep the aisles clear.
This is a topic that we unfortunately need to think about very seriously with all the occurrences that have happened recently. We need to educate ourselves and our children. We need to prepare them/us so we know what to do so they don't become a victim. Here are some tips from the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children.
Safety At Home
- Children should know their full name, home phone number and how to use the telephone. Post your contact information where your children will see it: office phone number, cell phone, pager, etc.
- Children should have a trusted adult to call if they're scared or have an emergency.
- Choose baby-sitters with care. Obtain references from family, friends, and neighbors. Once you have chosen the caregiver, drop in unexpectedly to see how your children are doing. Ask your children how the experience with the caregiver was, and listen carefully to their responses.
Safety In The Neighborhood
- Make a list with your children of their neighborhood boundaries, choosing significant landmarks.
- Interact regularly with your neighbors. Tell your children whose homes they are allowed to visit.
- Don't drop your children off alone at malls, movie theaters, video arcades, or parks.
- Teach your children that adults should not approach children for help or directions. Tell your children that if they are approached by an adult, they should stay alert because this may be a "trick."
- Never leave children unattended in an automobile. Children should never hitchhike or approach a car when they don't know and trust the driver.
- Children should never go anywhere with anyone without getting your permission first.
Safety At School
- Be careful when you put your child's name on clothing, backpacks, lunch boxes or bicycle license plates. If a child's name is visible, it may put them on a "first name" basis with an abductor.
- Walk the route to and from school with your children, pointing
out landmarks and safe places to go if they're being followed
or need help. Make a map with your children showing acceptable
routes to school, using main roads and avoiding shortcuts or isolated
areas. If your children take a bus, visit the bus stop with them
and make sure they know which bus to take.
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- Don't go out alone - There is safety in numbers. This rule isn't just for little kids, it applies to teens, too.
- Always tell an adult where you're going - Letting someone know where you'll be at all times is smart. If you're faced with a risky situation or get into trouble, your family and friends will know where to find you.
- Say no if you feel threatened - If someone (anyone) touches
you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, you have the right
to say no. Whether it is pressure about sex, drugs, or doing something
that you know is wrong, be strong and stand your ground.
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- Always TAKE A FRIEND when walking or riding your bike to and from school. Stay with a group while waiting at the bus stop. It's safer and more fun to be with your friends.
- If anyone bothers you while going to or from school, get away from that person, and TELL a trusted adult like your parents or teacher.
- If an adult approaches you for help or directions, remember grownups needing help should not ask children for help; they should ask other adults.
- If someone you don't know or feel comfortable with offers you a ride, say NO.
- If someone follows you, get away from him or her as quickly as you can. Always be sure to TELL your parents or a trusted adult what happened.
- If someone tries to take you somewhere, quickly get away and yell, "This person is trying to take me away!" or "This person is not my father (mother)!"
- If you want to change your plans after school, always CHECK FIRST with your parents. Never play in parks, malls, or video arcades by yourself.
- If you go home alone after school, check to see that everything is okay before you go in. Once inside, call your parents to let them know that you are okay. Make sure you follow your "Home Alone" tips.
- Trust your feelings. If someone makes you feel scared or uncomfortable,
get away as fast as you can and TELL a trusted adult.
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- Keep a complete description of your child.
- Take a color photograph of your child every six months.
- Keep copies of your child's fingerprints.
- Keep a sample of your child's DNA. (see below)
- Know where your child's medical records are located.
- Have your dentist prepare and maintain dental charts for your child
Below is the suggested method of collecting and saving DNA. This method is provided by the Virginia Department of Forensic Science.
Items needed to collect DNA: Sterile cotton swabs and envelopes.
How to collect and store:
This process is known by the medical community as buccal swabs. Holding two dry sterile swabs, swab the surfaces of the cheek inside the mouth. Rotate the swabs and saturate them with saliva. Place the swabs on a paper towel, foil or plastic wrap and allow them to air dry for 24 hours. Keep them away from direct sunlight or heat. Next, write the following information on the plain envelope: the name of the person, birth date, sex, any distinguishing features of the person the sample was taken from, and when the swab was collected. Once the swabs are dry, place them in the envelope and seal it. Make sure to keep the tips of the swab away from the writing on the envelope. It might not be a bad idea to take several samples from each loved one and store them in different secure locations
- Immediately report your child missing to your local law enforcement agency
- Ask the law enforcement agency to enter your child into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Missing Person File.
- Limit access to your home until law enforcement arrives and has the opportunity to collect possible evidence.
- Give law enforcement investigators all information you have
on your child including fingerprints, complete description and
the facts and circumstances related to the disappearance.
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- You. A parent is the best person to teach a child about personal safety.
- Effective personal safety skills.
- Smart Thinking
- Strong Character
- Sticking Together
- Now. Age and maturity matter:
- There is no perfect age when parents should begin teaching children about personal safety.
- A child's ability to comprehend and practice safety skills is affected by age, educational, and developmental levels.
- LISTEN to your children.
- Know your children's daily activities and habits.
- Listen to what they like and what they don't like.
- Encourage open communication. Let your children know they can talk to you about any situation
- Reassure your children that their safety is your #1 concern.
TEACH your children.
- Set boundaries about places they may go, people they may see, and things they may do.
- Reinforce the importance of the "buddy system."
- It's OK to say NO tell your children to trust their instincts.
- Know where your children are at all times.
- Your children should check in with you if there is a change in plans.
- There is no substitute for your attention and supervision.
PRACTICE safety skills with your child.
- Rehearse safety skills so that they become second nature.
There has been a significant rise in cases of people being lured into harmful situations due to contact made over the Internet. Remember all the exits from the superhighway are not safe! Here are some statistics to keep in mind:
- Currently, there are approximately 12.5 million children online.
- By the year 2002, it's estimated there will be 45 million children
- 38% of our youths age 16-17 are online five hours or more per
- Of all inmates jailed for sex crimes, 66% committed offenses against children.
Safety Tips For Kids Using The Internet
- Never give out your account information or your password (even
to your best friend).
- Never give out personal information (not even the smallest amount
such as, your name, phone number, address, school, etc.), because
a little information can give a criminal a big advantage.
- Don't enter chat rooms, especially private chat rooms. Parents
- don't allow your children to enter chat rooms.
- Never agree to meet someone in person. Never meet someone without
telling someone else where you are going and whom you are going
to meet. If you are determined to meet with someone, take others
with you and be sure to meet in a very public place.
- Never send a picture of yourself to anyone on the Internet .
"Morphing" (unwanted alterations) can be done to your
- Know that a lot of false information exists on the Internet,
everything you see on the Internet is NOT TRUE.
Here is some information from an article in the Richmond Times Dispatch about scooters on the road.
Who would think of putting a vehicle that looks like an ottoman with handlebars on the same street with SUV's the size of a condo? In Virginia, a gas-powered scooter is defined as a motorcycle with an engine displacement of 50 cubic centimeters or less. The rules are the same as for mopeds: You must be 16 years of age or older, and the vehicle can't be capable of going faster than 30 mph. No license required.
Scooters and mopeds can be driven at night but must have a white light on the front visible for 500 feet in clear weather and a red reflector or red light on the rear.
But because of a quirk in Virginia law, electric-powered scooters are designated as motorcycles. To operate one, you need a driver's license, insurance, a vehicle safety inspection â€” just as you would for a motorcycle. These are state laws. Localities can pass further regulations. (As of right now we do not have any additional regulations pertaining to scooters in Hanover County.)
Beware of dealers who say your children can ride scooters anywhere. Tom Lambert, a legal specialist with the Virginia State Police, says he gets lots of calls from parents smart enough to check. The parents tell him, "The dealers said my kid could ride this on the street, and I have to be the Grinch," Lambert said.