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Ten Tips for Street Safety

publication date: Apr 23, 2007

Discuss what the child should do if:

  • he wants to walk to or from school without you. Tip: make sure he knows how to cross a road safely and uses the most direct route - other parents and children are more likely to be walking here - and   perhaps he could start by walking home with another child.
  • he is approached in the street by a stranger. Tip: don’t let them stand too close to you - an arm’s length is the minimum distance. A good tactic is to pretend to see a friend or relative in the distance, wave and/or call out to them, then run towards them. If there is no one else around walk away fast and purposefully.
  • he thinks someone is following him in a car. Tip: walk in the opposite direction then the car will have to do a U-turn to follow. Go into a shop or make a call from  a public payphone. It’s a good idea for your child to carry a phonecard or chargecard or ten pence and also know how to make a reverse charge call (if he doesn’t have a mobile).
  •  someone asks directions from a car. Tip: advise him never to go near the car even if the driver says he can’t hear.  Children should be told that they don’t have to talk to people they don’t know. Children should never get into a car with strangers.
  • he has lost his bus fare home. Tip: he may be able to persuade a conductor to take his name and address. If he’s still at school ask to borrow the money from a teacher or someone he knows. Alternatively he could approach a police officer or phone home. Tell him never try to travel and deliberately avoid paying.
  •  he has a problem after school - perhaps with bullying.  Tip: If he’s still near the building, return and ask for assistance or ask a teacher to phone you at home/work. If he’s away from the school building, ask a parent for help.
  • he is confronted by someone demanding his money or watch. Tip: if the person won’t take no for an answer and acts aggressively tell your child it’s better to hand over something rather than be hurt. Tell him to try to remember something about the person for when you report the incident to the police mugging is unacceptable behaviour!.
  • a person he doesn't know meets him at the school gate and says you have asked her to pick him up. Tip: it’s a good idea to have an agreed special code word or phrase that would let the child know it’s okay to go with the person. If that’s not the case he should go into the school and ask a teacher to try and contact you.
  • he is separated from you/his friends at the park/cinema. Tip: in advance, agree a place where you will all meet if you should get split up.
  • on the way home he is invited to call into a friend’s house. Tip: If you are happy with artrangement, instruct him to phone home immediately so that you will know when to expect him otherwise make sure he knows he should always go straight home.