Recently our school district, like many school districts across the United States, cut back their busing routes. In our school district we have money for salaries and we have buses, but what we don't have are bus drivers. As a result many students, not just in our school district but many others, are walking to school and home, quite often alone. While some parents may have had concerns about the safety of buses, now we have a whole new set of worries such as how to avoid dangerous drop offs, perilous pick-ups and wild walkers.
Stranger dangers. I don't know if it is because of the increase of children walking to and from schools, that stranger dangers are being noticed more, or are stranger dangers just becoming more aggressive in their techniques? Whatever the reason, it seems that in our district, as well as others there are an increasing number of reports about strangers approaching children at bus stops or as they are walking home. Some students have even been assaulted and only by quick thinking and fighting, quite possibly for their lives have they been able to get away. It's important to use these 10 ways to teach your children about stranger dangers, to address this important safety concern with your walker.
Dangerous drop offs and perilous pick-ups. Have you ever seen the car, van or truck that "zoomed" up to the corner and instead of taking a few extra minutes to finish the car pool lane, they slam on the brakes and the kids hop out of the car, often right in front of a car making a turn? That's just one of many instances where our children are in danger due to drop offs. Some others include cars racing up the street, crossing the middle line, ignoring crosswalks and school zone speed limits, as well as texting or talking while driving. Pay it forward and make sure you don't add to the dangerous drop off zone and hopefully by setting the example you can influence at least one other parent or guardian. Consider volunteering your time to help the school avoid these dangerous drop-off situations.
Wild walkers. I know kids will be kids, but if our children are walking we should teach them a few manners, common courtesy and even more importantly some safety standards. Far too often as I sit on the side of the road parked in the car pool lane, as I drive home, or run errands after school I see wild walkers taking advantage of this opportunity. They walk on grass and across yards, as well as take "short cuts." They pick flowers along the way from someone else's yard. They bark back at dogs and even stick books, sticks or other personal items through the small seam between the wooden gates. They laugh as the dogs become even more ferocious and angry, but one day their actions may not leave them laughing for long. All of these things can put them in danger of not noticing their surroundings (making stranger danger more likely to happen), possibly even a unhappy homeowner or a dangerous dog situation. Take time to walk your children home a few times or arrange for a trusted neighbor or teen to walk them home, if you have concerns about your child being a wild walker.
Talk to your kids, your school and your neighbors. Maybe working together, as well as using a few parenting tips and tools, we can all avoid any harm coming to our children as they encounter stranger dangers, daring school drop offs, perilous pick-ups and wild walkers.
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