(BPT) - The back-to-school season comes with its share of excitement — including new classrooms, friends and routines — but it’s also a time to be thoughtful about safety. As schedules change and daily life takes on an added layer of complexity with trips to and from school, after-school activities, appointments, play dates and more, back-to-school is the right time for parents to think proactively and have important conversations with their kids about safety.
Whether it’s a child’s first year attending preschool or final year of college, here are some important safety tips to help keep them safe and provide you with some peace of mind:
The years before formal education are full of wonder for children, but it's also important to be cautious and respectful while letting their little imaginations take flight. Talk to small children about important things like looking both ways before crossing the road and always asking the teachers for permission before leaving a room. This is also a good time to have them start learning critical information like your phone number and the family address.
Many elementary school students take the bus or walk to school, so transportation safety is essential at this age. Finding buddies to walk or ride bikes with, and practicing routes before school starts, are great ideas. It's also important to discuss never leaving with a stranger or getting into an unknown vehicle. If your child is a buser, remind them to stay behind the curb for the bus and always wait for the bus to fully stop before approaching it to board.
As tweens become teens, they begin to learn more about themselves, and part of this is flexing their independence. Parents can encourage independence and growth while still keeping communication open, and a recent survey conducted on behalf of Life360 found that 78% of them report believing that they can find a balance between giving their kids freedom and keeping them safe. First, consider maintaining a family calendar so you can be aware of your child’s travels, and vice versa. An app like Life360 is also a simple way to stay connected, allowing you to view family members on a private map and communicate with them via private, invite-only in-app chat. The technology also shares alerts when family members arrive or leave destinations like home, school or work. Learn more at www.life360.com.
High school is the time when many teens are learning to drive and getting their driver's licenses. The Life360 survey also found that parents who currently have, or previously had, a high school-aged child, worry about driving-related issues such as accidents (27%), drunk driving (25%) and distracted driving (26%). Be a role model for safe driving habits and enroll your child in driver's education. The Life360 app is also great for young drivers and their parents because it has features like crash detection that alerts emergency contacts immediately, roadside assistance so drivers can get the help they need for that flat tire or other issues, and Driver Reports that allow parents to see how their young drivers are acting on the road.
Even when your child is legally an adult, you can and should still have a positive influence on their well-being. Heading to college is a big step, so this is a good time to go over general safety reminders. Start by helping your child familiarize themselves with campus security features, such as escort services and blue-light emergency phone stations. Understanding campus layout and taking suggested routes that are well lit is helpful.
A few simple conversations can help kids of all ages keep safety top of mind, and that's something any parent can feel good about. Visit the Apple App Store or Google Play to download the Life360 app.