After School Safety Tips
Officer Brie – Buchanan City Police Department
Good morning Buchanan! With the school year coming to a close, I would like to talk about after school safety! Below I will talk about safety for parents and kids when it comes to children walking home, what to do if they encounter a stranger, and what they can do to stay safe at home.
Parents – Make sure you know your child’s route when they walk to and from school or the bus stop. Walk the route with them several times and point out areas where they can cross the road safely. Make sure that your child knows their address and a phone number to get a hold of you in case of an emergency. Also make sure they know to call 911 if there is ever an emergency and they carry a cell phone.
Kids – ALWAYS look both ways before crossing a street! NEVER take short cuts from the route you walk just in case your parent needs to find you in an emergency. If you decide to go to a friend’s house after school, call your parent or guardian and make sure they know where you are!
**Please remember to slow down in school zones and areas where we have crossing guards. Be alert and watch for children crossing the street. **
ENCOUNTERING A STRANGER
Parents – Create a safety password that you share between you, your child, and the trusted adult who may be picking them up from school or the bus stop. Teach your child where they can run to for help if they are approached by a stranger. Avoid putting your child’s name on items. Strangers may use your child’s name to build trust and rapport with your child.
Kids – Avoid strangers and do not talk to them, even if they offer you a gift or a ride home! If you are being followed by a stranger and you are close to a store or gas station, run inside and tell an employee to call 911. If a stranger were to forcibly try to take you somewhere, make a scene! Throw your backpack down, throw items in your back pack, yell and scream saying “this person is not my parent/family!” NEVER tell a stranger that you are going home alone!
SAFE AT HOME
Parents – Provide your child with a house key, but do not label it with identifiable information such as “house key”. Teach your child to keep all doors and windows locked and to not answer the door for anyone while they are home alone. Keep an emergency contact list for your child if they needed to get in touch with you, your spouse, or a trusted third party. Teach your children what to do when there is an emergency at home. Designate a “safe room” if there were ever an intruder, and practice the safety plan with them in a fun way.
Kids – NEVER answer the door if your parents are not home! If someone is trying to get into the house, lock yourself inside of a room or closet and call 911 right away! Stay quiet and listen to the instructions from the 911 operator, they will send help as quickly as they can.
**If you have an older child watching younger children, consider enrolling them in a babysitting course**
CAN MY CHILD BE HOME ALONE?
When deciding whether to leave a child home alone, you will want to consider your child’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. This may be considered around the age of 11 or 12, but not 10 and under. When in doubt, hire a babysitter!
I hope these tips help! We had a 10 year old request that I talk about safety! I will continue to do a safety series the next few months, so keep a look out! If you have a subject that you would like me to cover, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Please contact Buchanan City Police Department if you have any questions or concerns, our number is 269-695-5120. The Berrien County Dispatch number for non emergencies is 866-630-7679. If you have an emergency, please call or text 911!
Stay safe, stay awesome!
~ Officer Brie