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Safety for Kids Walking To and From School

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TALK with your kids – WALK with your kids – PRACTICE with your kids

Written by Irene van der Zande, Kidpower International Founder and Executive Director

TALK together to make a Safety Plan so your kids will know:

  • They are safest walking in groups and, if they are younger, with an adult you identify.
  • To always get permission from you or another adult in charge before they change their plan about going anywhere with anyone, whether it is a stranger or someone they know.
  • To always get your permission about where they go, who will be with them, and what they will be doing.
  • That a stranger is someone they do not know well, can look like anybody, and might know their name.
  • That most people are good and most strangers are good, but they do not know what someone is like just by how that person looks or acts.
  • To NOT get close to a stranger; talk to a stranger; take anything from a stranger, or go with a stranger – unless they have their adult’s permission.
  • If they are old enough to talk to a stranger, to stay out of reach and not give personal information.
  • To move away and get help if someone makes them feel uncomfortable or tries to approach them.
  • How to get help in an emergency from people you’ve designated along their route.
  • To tell a trusted adult every time someone makes them feel uncomfortable or scared.

WALK together to determine:

  • The safest route to follow that will avoid isolated places, difficult streets to cross, and other hazards.
  • Where to go and who to ask for help if kids have a safety problem on the route — preferably adults you have introduced them to — in a church, store, a neighbor’s house, and/or other places.
  • What to do if kids get lost, if they cannot stay on their route, or if someone bothers them.
  • Each child’s safety readiness for walking on their own without an adult.

PRACTICE together until you are SURE your kids are prepared to:

  • Use their awareness to notice and avoid safety problems from people, traffic, or other possible trouble.
  • Act aware, calm, and confident in every situation.
  • Move quickly out of reach from a stranger or anyone who makes them feel uncomfortable.
  • Follow their safety plan even if a friend tries to persuade them otherwise.
  • Find a place with people to help them if they get lost or have to change their route.
  • Yell “NO! I NEED HELP!” and run to a safe place to get help if they feel scared.
  • Yell, pull away, hit and kick to escape from an attack.
  • Be persistent in getting help.
  • Find and use a telephone so they can call a trusted adult for help or 911 in an emergency.

Copyright ©2012 Irene van der Zande, Kidpower Author and Founder.
All rights reserved. Article posted with permission.
For more information, visit www.kidpower.org.

This article is from Kidpower International’s online library.
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