You can help your child stay safe on the way to school and back home by doing the following:

• Plan ahead. Whether your child walks to the bus stop or to school, figure out the safest route. Choose a way that has the fewest street crossings. Use crossings where there are crossing guards.

If you can, avoid vacant lots or places where there aren’t many people. Walk the route with your child.

• There’s safety in numbers. If possible, arrange for your child to walk with a friend, neighbor or family member.

• Play “what if.” Think ahead with your child. What if she gets a bloody nose? What if a large dog is in the path?

Talking about these unexpected things will make handling them easier for your child.

• Teach your child never to ride with strangers. Remember, a stranger is anyone your child doesn’t know well. Many families have a “secret code.” If you had to send a friend to pick up your child, you would tell the person this secret word. It is a signal to your child that this person is safe to ride with.

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