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The start of the new school year brings about many emotions, fears, and excitements for families.  Make sure your children start the year off right with these strategies for personal safety.

Teaching your child about safety is not intended to scare them, but rather prepare them so they are alert, confident and able to manage an unfamiliar situation. Think of it this way; which spelling test is your child better prepared for… the one they have studied for or the one they have not?

1.Ensure your child walks to school or the bus with someone else. Safety in numbers still rings true!

2. Walk the route to school or the bus with your child a few times before school starts. Help your child identify places they could go if they need help.

3. Make sure your child knows your full name and phone number and theirs.

4. Do not put your child’s name on their backpack. Instead, put their name and phone number inside, where it’s not visible to the public.

5. Teach your child to walk with confidence; head up, looking around for people or situations that maybe risky. Making eye contact implies confidence.

6. Discuss intuition and instinct. Remind your child that they can stay out of harms way by noticing these ‘Chilly Willies or Creepy Vibes’ and leaving the area to seek help from a trusted adult.

7. Teach your children the “Safety Cheer”: NO, GO, YELL, TELL. Practice it with them and remind them to shout it loudly to let people know they need help.

8. Create a Family Password with your children. If someone tries to entice your child to go with them, have your child ask that person for the family password. If the person does not know the password, instruct your child to not go with them, but to run back into the school or to find help immediately.

9. Arrange for a SafeNeighbor. This is someone near your home or school who can be a safe person for your child if they feel frightened or have run from an unsafe situation.

10. Along with the exciting activities they will be eager to share with you, teach your child to always communicate any unsafe or worrisome events that may have happened in their day.