Beyond Lunch Boxes and Binder Paper - Conversations to Have Before School Starts
Now that school is starting up again, a number of children will walk, bicycle or scooter to and from school. In some cases, children may also be left unattended until adults arrive home from work.
The Santa Clara Police Department would like parents, grandparents, babysitters and siblings responsible for younger family members to consider a number of questions before settling into a school year routine:
- What route will your child be taking to and from school?
- Will your child be required to call an adult when they have arrived safely at the appropriate location?
- Does your child have an electronic device with GPS?
- Have you discussed a set of pre-determined rules? This may include having friends over, opening the door to strangers and use of electronics. This is critical for your child’s safety and your peace of mind.
- How long will your child be home alone? If siblings are under their care, are they willing and capable to do so?
- Will your child be required to prepare a snack or a meal? If so, what are the rules for using the stove, oven and microwave?
- How child-safe is your home (e.g. alcohol, prescription medication, tobacco, car keys, lighters/matches, guns, etc.)?
- Who can your child call in the case of an emergency? Where can your child find important phone numbers?
- Has your child taken a First Aid/CPR class?
- Does your child know what to do in the case of fire, earthquake or other disaster?
- Are your phone numbers up to date with school, carpool and caregivers?
Finally, we ask all families to teach their children how to use the 9-1-1 emergency telephone system. This should include situations where it is appropriate to call 9-1-1 (e.g. lost, fire, accident, crime, very sick or hurt, etc.) and what information Dispatchers will ask of callers, such as name, address, phone number and type of emergency.