- If your car breaks down, pull over, put up the hood, turn on your flashers, and tie a white cloth to the antenna. Get in the car, lock the doors, close the windows, and turn the engine off. When someone stops, roll the window down only enough to ask him or her to call for help.
The great thing about kids is their natural trust in people, especially in adults. It is sometimes hard for parents to teach children to balance this trust with caution. However, kids today need to know common-sense rules that can help keep them safe and build the self-confidence they need to handle emergencies.
Would your child know what to do if :
- He/she got lost at a shopping mall?
- A nice-looking, friendly stranger offered him/her a ride home after school?
- A friend dared him/her to drink some beer or smoke marijuana?
- The baby-sitter or a neighbor wanted to play a secret game?
Start with the Basics:
- Make sure your children know their full name, address (city and state), and phone number with area code.
- Be sure your children know how to call 9-1-1 or `0' in emergencies and how to use a public phone. Practice making emergency calls with a make-believe phone.
- Tell your children never to accept rides or gifts from someone that they and you do not know.
- Teach children to go to a store clerk, a security guard, or a police officer for help if they get lost in anywhere.
- Set a good example with your own actions â€“ lock doors and windows and see who is there before opening the door.
- 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.
At school and play:
- Encourage your children to walk and play with friends, not alone. Tell them to avoid places that could be dangerous vacant buildings, alleys, playgrounds or parks with broken equipment and litter.
- Teach children to settle arguments with words, not fists, and to walk away when others are arguing. Remind them that taunting and teasing can hurt friends and make enemies.
- Make sure your children are taking the safest routes to and from school, stores, and friends' houses. Walk the routes together and point out places they could go for help.
- Encourage kids to be alert in the neighborhood and to tell an adult (you, a teacher, a neighbor, a police officer) about anything they see that does not seem quite right.
- Check out the school's policies on absent children â€“ are parents called when a child is absent?
- Check out daycare and after-school programs â€“ look at certifications, staff qualifications, and rules on parent permission for field trips, reputation in the community, parent participation, and policies on parent visits.
At home alone:
- Leave a phone number where you can be reached. Post it by the phone, along with numbers for a neighbor and emergencies, police and fire departments, paramedics, and the poison control center.
- Have your child check in with you or a neighbor when he/she gets home. Agree on rules for having friends over and going to a friend's house when no adult is home.
- Make sure your child knows how to use the window and door locks.
- Tell your child not to let anyone into the home without your permission, and never to let a caller at the door or on the phone know there's no adult home. Kids can always say their parents are busy and take a message.
- Work out an escape plan in case of fire or other emergencies. Rehearse with your children.
Protecting your child against sexual abuse:
- Let your child know that he/she can tell you anything, and that you will be supportive.
- Teach your child that no one, not even a teacher or a close relative, has the right to touch him/her in a way that feels uncomfortable and that it is okay to say” get away” and tell a trusted adult.
- Do not force kids to kiss or hug or sit on a grown-up's lap if they do not want to. This gives them control and teaches them they have the right to refuse.
- Always know where your child is and whom he/she is with.
- Tell your child to stay away from strangers who hang around playgrounds, public restrooms, and schools.
- Be alert for changes in your child's behavior such as sudden secretiveness, withdrawal from activities, refusal to go to school, unexplained hostility toward a favorite babysitter or relative, or increased anxiety. Some physical signs of abuse include bedwetting, loss of appetite, venereal disease, nightmares, and complaints of pain or irritation around the genitals.
- If your child has been sexually abuse, report it to the police or a child protection agency immediately.
Take a stand:
- Work with schools and recreation centers to offer study time, activities, tutoring, and recreation before and after school.
- Start a school callback program. When a student (elementary, middle, or high school age)- does not arrive as scheduled, volunteers at the school call the parents to make sure the absence is excused.
- Volunteer to help with a block parent program. If you can't offer your home as a haven for children in emergencies, you can help in other ways by telephoning, fundraising, or public relations.
The following is an outline for Bike Safety:
CHOOSE AND MAINTAIN A SAFE BICYCLE.
- White or Yellow- sides and pedals
Pre-ride bike checks
- Frame, seat and handlebars
- Lights, reflectors and bells/horns
Yearly professional inspection
How to fit and wear helmet.
- Comfortable, well ventilated, padded, snug fitting.
- Wear low on forehead, not tilted back.
Care and maintenance.
GOOD BODY VISIBILITY.
- Do not store in hot climates (i.e. hot auto).
- Wear reflective clothing/tape.
- Dress in layers in cold weather.
- Avoid long loose clothing.
- Wear leg clips with long pants.
SHARE ROAD WITH OTHERS.
- Wear eye and hand protection.
- Assume others do not see you.
- Avoid heavy traffic areas.
- Keep safe distance from cars.
- Enter roadways carefully.
- Check before changing lanes.
BE ALERT IN SPECIAL SITUATIONS.
- Make SAFE LEFT and RIGHT turns
- Uneven or slippery road surfaces.
PROTECT YOUR BICYCLE FROM THIEVES.
- Cycling with other children.
- Register your bike with local police department.
Keep a file.
- Mark your bike with your name or identifier.
- Consider insuring your bicycle.
- Always park in a well-lit area. Park as close to the building as you can. Take advantage of an opportunity to move your car closer.
- Lock your car. It may be enough to discourage a thief from victimizing you. Also, check your back seat before entering your car. When you go to your car, have your keys ready.
- Don’t leave valuables or shopping bags in view in the passenger compartment. Use the trunk, or cover them up. Don’t make a lot of repeat trips to your car. This will help identify you and your vehicle and they will know that they have time to break in.
- Be aware of your surroundings. When walking on a sidewalk stay to the outside, away from doorways. Walk with confidence, with a mission. In a parking lot, avoid walking too close to large vehicles or vans which might be used to hide behind.
- Don’t go alone if it can be avoided. There is a higher level of safety in numbers.
- Don't flash money when walking through the store or at a counter. Take only the amount of money you plan to spend. Never leave your purse unattended at a counter or in a shopping cart. Don't carry unnecessary valuables.
- Carry cash, credit cards, and check book in your front pockets. Protect them from pick-pockets.
Protect yourself and your money at automatic teller machines
ATM Machines offer a convenience that many of us have come to rely upon. Unfortunately, ATMs have presented criminals with new opportunities to commit crimes of larceny or robbery. Thieves that obtain your wallet or purse will take your ATM card and driver's license and hope to gain access to your money. Occasionally, a thief may guess your correct PIN number from items in your wallet. Sometimes, it is the physical location or condition of an ATM that makes it a prime target of a thief. An ATM in an isolated or unlit area offers a thief a a greater chance of success.
Protecting Your Card and Your Money:
- Never write your Personal Identification Number (PIN) on or near your card. Memorize your (PIN). No one else can use your card without knowing the PIN.
- Don't use your birthday or anniversary date as your PIN. Many thieves will expect you to use something as simple.
- Stand squarely in front of the machine. Don't allow anyone to see your PIN.
- Never give your card to anyone. It's like handing them a signed blank check.
- If you are withdrawing cash put it away before you leave the ATM. Don't walk out of the ATM displaying the fact that you have cash for the taking.
- Be sure to take your receipt. Don't leave it behind. It lists your account number and often, the remaining balance.
- If your ATM card is lost or stolen, report it to your bank immediately.
- Be aware of your surroundings. When using an ATM after business hours or after dark be on your guard. If your ATM is not well lit, if the entrance is overgrown with large bushes, or if there is anyone or anything suspicious, go to another ATM. Chances are there is another nearby.
- Have your paperwork and money ready before you enter the machine. This will not only reduce the time you must spend in the ATM but will allow you to pay more attention to your surroundings.
- Again, put your money away before leaving the ATM. Do not walk out counting your money.