Travelling to and from school can be very dangerous without proper parental care and supervision.
SaferSchools suggest the following steps to keep our children safe:
- Map out with your children a safe way for them to walk to school or to the bus/ taxi/ transport service stop. Try to avoid busy roads and intersections as well as areas that are too isolated. Do a trial run with them to point out places they should avoid along the way, such as vacant lots, construction areas, and parks where there aren’t many people.
- Encourage children to walk to school or the bus stop with a sibling, friend or familiar adults, and to wait at bus stops with other children. Familiarize yourself and be social with the neighbours who live on your street, as they can also be an extra set of eyes for you. Ask them to walk with your child when possible.
- Remind children not to talk on their phones or play games whilst walking or traveling. Their phones should not be visible at all and they should pay attention to their surroundings.
- Organize supervised walking groups in your neighbourhood where adults take turns to walk groups of children to school or to their transport stops.
- Teach children to follow traffic signals and rules when walking or biking. Stress that they should cross the street at crosswalks or intersections with crossing guards when they can.
- Teach children to not make unnecessary conversation with strangers, go anywhere with them, or accept gifts from them without your permission. Tell them that if they see a suspicious stranger hanging around, or in their school, they should tell an adult.
- Help children memorize their phone number and full address. Write down other important phone numbers such as your work and cell phone on a card for your children to carry with them.
- If your child walks to school, ensure that they are well equipped for all weather conditions; a nice umbrella to use if it suddenly starts to rain – the weather often changes during the course of the day, and you might not be there to drive them home. During the rainy season, be sure to invest in a rain coat for them – it will make them look cool, as well as save them from getting wet.
- If you are making use of a transport service, ensure that the company is reputable. Provide them with all your contact details and ensure that you know the routes and schedules the follow.
- Teach your child basic self-protection techniques.