Its that time of year again. Its hotter than…well, you know what, rain seems to have travelled away to cooler climes, and the stores are starting to fill up with notebooks, pens, and binders (do they still make trapper-keepers?). That’s right, its almost time to go back to school.
And despite all of the excitement and anxiety surrounding this annual ritual, its important to ensure safety remains a priority. As a small child, I remember my mother getting us on the school bus, and waiting to meet us when we got off at the end of the day, if not at the bus stop, then certainly at the front door. That experience is simply not the case for every child anymore. More and more, mom (or a neighbor) gets the kids on the bus, waves goodbye and heads to work. And, in what is becoming increasingly more common, kids are getting off the bus by themselves and coming home to an empty house.
In fact, the issue has become so pervasive that we use a common term for these children: latchkey kids. The name derives from the fact that the only thing to greet them when they arrive home is a latch. Backing away from the potential problems with such a situation, the reality is that sometimes there isn’t another option. Children may, even if not every day, have to come home alone on occasion. But, how do you make sure they’re safe?
Here is a brief and introductory list of recommendations to help keep children safe once the school season is fully upon us:
- Talk to your children about safety, and what you expect from them in order to help keep them safe
- Make sure children know how to safely and carefully arrive home from their bus stop
- Purchase an alarm system with latchkey notification to alert you if your child doesn’t disarm the system by your predetermined time
- Have your kids check in with a neighbor who lives at home, just so someone else knows where they are
- Make them call as soon as they get home and let you know if they’re going anywhere
- Put locks on all medicine and liquor cabinets
We won’t be able to protect our children for the rest of their lives, but for the short time that they live at home under our watchful eyes, we should do our best to make sure that they are safe and happy. Following the above steps is one way to help do that.
What sort of safety tips do you use with your children for the school year? Let us know. As always, we love to hear from you.