September brings the start of a new school year and the sight of children nationwide walking to school in the morning and back home in the afternoon. If you’re concerned about their safety (and that’s only natural), follwo these tips for making sure your children know how to navigate the streets without trouble:
- Choose the right route. Have your child use the most direct route to and from school. Look for intersections with stoplights and well-defined crosswalks, as well as adult crossing guards.
- Walk it yourself. For the first week or so, walk with your younger children to be sure they know where and how to cross the street. Tell them to avoid shortcuts, abandoned houses, and anything else that might hide them from sight.
- Dress children for visibility. Brightly colored coats and clothing will make your children more visible to drivers.
- Discuss safety. Teach children not to talk to strangers or accept rides or gifts from anyone they don’t know. Be sure they understand what traffic signals means and the importance of paying attention to what’s happening around them.
- Checking their knowledge. Be sure small children know their own address and home phone number, as well as contact information for another trusted adult.
- Keep the lights on. Be sure to leave your porch or outdoor lights on in fall and winter afternoons when darkness comes early.