As the new school year starts, it is important to refresh safety rules for our children, but as parents, there are many that are unknowingly broken as we send our small ones off to school. We tell our children to look both ways before crossing the street and not to speak to strangers, and these are valid safety tips. There are some tips for parents that can be used to help keep their children safe beyond the basic ways that are normally thought about by parents.
Naming your child
Of course, if your child is born, this advice can’t be taken. When naming your baby, consider giving your child a name with an unusual pronunciation. In this way, if someone happens to see your child’s name someplace and approaches them, saying, “(Mispronounced name), I am your mom’s/dad’s best friend and they sent me to pick you up,” your child will know that this cannot be the case. Any “best friend” of a parent would pronounce the child’s name correctly.
Don’t give the upper hand to a potential abductor
As parents get their children ready for school, take heed not to label the outside of your child’s backpack or lunch box with their name. This simple action, designed to make the selection of the backpack easy for your child can give a pedophile the element of familiarity and make your child more vulnerable. If an adult calls their name, a child can hesitate or be easily tricked that the adult “is a friend” of their parent and be tricked. Otherwise, just hearing their name can make your child pause and give someone a chance to take them. Many child safety experts also caution against personalized shirts, jackets, caps, etc. for the same reason.
Snap a cell phone picture
Snap a quick picture of your child with your cell phone before leaving home. If your child gets separated from you, you have a recent picture and are able to know exactly what they were wearing. You can also dress your children in matching shirts when going out into a busy public place. Having matching (and bright outfits) can help you corral and keep track of your kids and scan crowds easily. For large families, this is especially helpful. For casual outings, having a special t-shirt to wear is not expensive, makes for fun family photos as well. When the attire requires more than a t-shirt, girls can wear matching dresses or skirts and boys can wear neckties. There are even matching baby ties so no one is left behind!
However you decide to prepare for the new school year, just remember that you can never be overly cautious when it comes to protecting your children. Make sure your kids understand to always let someone know where they are going and to use the buddy system at all times. Feel free to share any other safety tips you have found to be beneficial in your family.