As students in Santa Monica public schools head back to the classroom Thursday, the police department is offering safety tips for both getting to school and what to do after the bell rings at the day’s end.
Here they are:
• Give yourself plenty of time as you and your children adjust to the new school schedule.
• Map out a safe way for your children to walk to school or to the bus stop.
• Work with other parents in the neighborhood to ensure that children in the neighborhood are supervised closely to and from school.
• Work with your neighbors and your child on identifying “safe houses” in the neighborhood; homes where your child is familiar and can ask for help if need be.
• Point out places they should avoid such as vacant lots, alleyways and construction areas.
• Encourage your children to use the “buddy system.”
• Teach your children to never speak to strangers or go anywhere with a stranger — and let them know it’s OK to report if a stranger tries to approach them.
• Teach your children to always be aware of their surroundings. Be aware of slow-moving vehicles or parked vehicles that appear to be occupied. Choose a different route or walk on the opposite side of the street.
• Children need to pay attention to traffic signals and use crosswalks with a crossing guard, if available.
Once the school day ends:
• Have your children check-in with an adult as soon as they get home.
• Show them how to properly lock all doors and windows.
• Make sure they know to never open a door to a stranger.
• Establish a set of rules: Who can come over, when homework must be done and any chores they must do before you get home.
• Find a trusted neighbor who will allow your children to come over in case of an emergency.
• Establish strict rules regarding Internet usage.
Parents and children are reminded to be aware of their surroundings at all times and should report something or someone suspicious to the SMPD.