Stranger danger is still a reality: Back to school safety tips

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"It boils down to making sure your children know exactly how to avoid possible danger". (iStock)
"It boils down to making sure your children know exactly how to avoid possible danger". (iStock)

Parents and caregivers may feel an understandable level of dread about the safety of their children while they make their way to school and back during this time of Covid-19.

But according to Fidelity ADT, parents must also remain as vigilant about personal security measures as ever, since many children have to see themselves to and from school and keep occupied until mom and dad return home in the evening.

"It is extremely important that children know not to let anyone into the house without your permission. If you are going to be late, let your children know as soon as possible and give them an idea of when they can expect you to be home," advises Charnel Hattingh, the security company's head of communications.

She suggests drawing up a list of important telephone numbers which "must include emergency services and mom and dad’s work and cellphone numbers".

"Save it on your child’s cellphone and stick it on or near the landline. It’s also important to explain to them when these should be used".

Here's a look at Hattingh's additional back to school safety tips:

Children must always walk to or from school with a friend or friends

If your child walks alone, it’s a good idea to ask a teacher or other parents if they know of other children from the area who do the same. Some towns have started “walking buses”, where local parents volunteer to walk to and from school with a group of schoolchildren to assure their safety.

Must see: The South African parents' definitive anti-kidnapping guide

Sticking to the familiar

Children walking home must stick to streets they know and never take shortcuts through unfamiliar or quiet areas.

After school pick-up

If your child gets picked up at school, they should always wait inside the grounds for their lift to arrive. Leaving the school premises to go and look for their lift in the street should be avoided.

The golden rule

Remind your child that you would never send someone you don’t know to fetch them. They must never get into a stranger’s car even if they claim someone they love is hurt and that they are supposed to pick them up. It is a good idea to consider using a password system to ensure the person collecting your child is in fact a friend or someone they can trust.

Stranger danger

If a stranger approaches them, they must avoid talking to them no matter how friendly they may seem. If someone tries to grab them, they should immediately fight, kick and scream that they are not their mom or dad.

"It boils down to making sure your children know exactly how to avoid possible danger, and also what they must do in case something bad happens to them," Hattingh concludes.

Submitted to Parent24 by Fidelity ADT. 


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