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Back To School Safety


By John Beatty

Fire and Life Safety Educator III

Maine Fire Training and Education

Southern Maine Community College


I know that I’m wondering where the summer went, how about you? It seems that whenever I wanted to do anything-it rained. Because of the rain my grass is greener but also taller and I spent a great deal of time trying to keep it under control. Oh and by the way I’m losing the battle. Just like me you are all wondering where the time has gone, and to think that in just a few weeks school will be starting up again. For those of us that are parents, it’s back to school shopping, getting the kids ready for a new sleep schedule and listening to “but I don’t want to go back to school”. But for all of us, whether we have children that are returning to school or not, it’s time to think about back to school safety.


Use this checklist to prepare your children for a safe school year.


Make sure your child knows his or her telephone number and address as well as 911 for an emergency. Plan a walking route to the bus stop with your child. Choose the most direct route, test it with them and tell them not to talk to strangers of any sort. Teach children when walking, biking, or riding a bus to school to obey all traffic signals, signs, and safety patrol rules. Make sure that they walk to school with others; a friend, brother or sister. When car-pooling, drop off and pick up as close to school as possible. Teach your child never to talk to strangers or accept rides or gifts from strangers or others without your permission.  You might want to have your child have a secret password that only someone you sent would know, in case you had to have someone new pick them up before you had a chance to tell them.  If the person doesn’t know the password, your child will know not to go with them.


If your child is home alone for a few hours after school:


Set rules for locking doors and windows, answering the door or phone.
Make sure he or she checks in with you or a neighbor immediately after school.
Agree on rules for inviting friends over and for going to a friend’s home when no adult is present.


Take time to listen carefully to your children’s fears, and feelings about people or places that scare them or make them feel uneasy. Tell them to trust their instincts. Take complaints about bullies and other concerns seriously. Remember it’s another new school year and although you might think that your children should know these rules, please refresh their memory.