10 Back to School Preparedness / Safety Tips

Mom with a PREP | Have you thought about common Preparedness & Safety Tips you need to have planned about before the school year starts?

It’s Back to School time – have you thought about common Preparedness & Safety Tips you need to have planned about before the school year starts?

10 Back to School Safety & Preparedness Tips

1. Know Your Emergency Stash

Whether you have a pack in their locker or something they carry in with them everyday, you should have a small pack available to your child that includes things they might need in case there is an emergency while they are in school and away from you.

• TIP: Consider a backpack with a separate storage pouch or bottom zippered compartment like this one for storing emergency supplies

2. Know Your Password

Be sure you have a family password that you share only with those you hold dearest in taking care of your children in case there is an emergency and there are mix-ups about who is responsible for your children.

3. Know Your Escape Plan

Especially for your older kids, make sure they have a place to rendezvous so that they can be together and head home. Make plans with trusted friends or neighbors about picking up kids together and getting them home if you work away from home. It might also be good to teach the kids an alternative pick up spot at the school if there is an emergency, and you want to get them quickly.

4. Know Your Contact Numbers

Whether your child is with another family on the way to school and are in a wreck, or separated on a field trip, or not with their teacher who has the class list, the possibility that your child is unable to tell emergency responders who he or she is can delay treatment or rescue.

• TIP: Consider a tag, a bracelet, a shoelace tag or other information for those children who may be too young to remember their names for fieldtrips and emergency health information.

5. Know Your School’s Emergency Plan

Ask the teacher and or school staff for a copy of their plan, find out what’s in the classroom for safety measures, and make sure the school has your phone numbers for contact. If you’re not happy with their emergency plan, help spearhead the PTA to make necessary changes.

6. Know Your Way Home

Get with your child and have a map printout of the area from school to home. Trace the routes for your child to use in case their way home is not available. Show approved and not approved ways home. This way, they have knowledge of alternative routes, and you know how they’ll be traveling. This also would apply to bus routes that your children may be on – know those routes.

7. Know Your Friends

Make sure that you teach your children who walk home who are their friends and who are not. Getting in cars with strangers is NEVER okay, nor is getting in cars of friends who don’t know your password – make sure your kids who are new to walking home know what is permitted. Walk with friends for safety.

8. Know When to Say No

Do your children know how to tell their friends no? Before and after school are prime times for kid to get in trouble from peer pressure and not knowing how to handle themselves in situations. Practice with your kids on ways to say no.

9. Know Your Caches

I know of quite a few families who have chosen to hide or bury a small cache of emergency preparedness items along the route that their children travel from school to home. While they may not be able to have all the equipment they might need at school, they know there is a spot along the way home where they may be able to find a stash of supplies they would need.

10. Know to Protect Yourself

Whether from bullies, strangers, etc., your children should know some basic self-defense skills  and the safety tips to help them out of rough situations.

11. Communicate with your kids

Talk to your kids about the issues they have at school, the advice you’d give about staying safe (don’t assume they know), and keep a means of them to communicate with you. Even if they are too young to carry a cell phone (though cell phones are cheap now with $6/mo. plans for simple lines), include a walkie talkie to let them contact you on their way home if a need arises and you live within shouting distance of their school.

Do you have a tip you would add to the list?


Mom with a PREP | Have you thought about common Preparedness & Safety Tips you need to have planned about before the school year starts?

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  1. Wondering says

    re number 9…

    you know, that seems like a GOOD idea, but can you suggest, in a city, where the heck would be applicable? I mean if there was grandparents, or friends on the way, well even under their front flower pot, but, these days many live in cities where they don’t have those choices.

    do you have some suggestions?

    • momwithaprep says

      It may not be a feasible option for everyone. You may have to be imaginative and creative, and know that you may have to check it often to make sure it’s still there. If you’re familiar with geocaching…think along those lines!

    • says

      It would be different, depending on which city and the particular route, but sometimes you can find spaces in hollow metal light posts, find a loose paver to dig under, etc. As momwithaprep suggested, you’ll have to look around and use your imagination and creativity. Make sure that if you include any type of food, it’s stored in something air/water tight that critters can’t chew through. A lot of people don’t realize that there are a ton of furry critters living in the cities because a lot of them only come out at night (think big city rats).

      Going to research geocaching now…

  2. Scott says

    My son is 18 now, but when he was younger made up one of those “Nalgene bottle” emergency kits for him to carry in one side pouch of his backpack. I became annoyed at the little crap that the school doesn’t allow due to ‘zero tolerance’. He couldn’t have a blade of any kind or a multitool with a blade. So, I made up a paracord necklace with a flint arrowhead on it. That worked. Both blade and firestarter, since they wouldn’t allow a lighter, matches or ferro rod. Put in a steel striker and it worked for making sparks. I included a paracord bracelet, granola bars, slim jims, GU gel, rolls of Life Savers, a first aid kit (less the meds like Tylenol….stupid zero tolerance policy again!), cylume lightsticks, small LED flashlight (put in a small piece of cardboard to keep the batteries from draining), a filter straw, emergency poncho, mylar blanket, gallon ziplock freezer baggie, cottonballs and a tube of petroleum jelly lip balm, and several single use heat packs, and a Storm whistle. A set of emergency survival instruction cards, first aid CPR manual, and knot card finished out the kit. It was enough to keep him safe, warm, fed and hydrated if the school went into extended lockdown or there was an emergency like a tornado. He was a Scout, was taught first aid/CPR and had taken Karate, so I knew he had the skills to protect himself (and others) in an emergency, in addition to all the wilderness training I had given him while camping. His schools were never more than a mile away from home, but I knew that things can happen, and with today’s “Lockdown” policies, often parents are NOT allowed to come and pick up their kids in an emergency situation. (stupid policy, but obviously designed to thwart lawsuits).

  3. McJenn says

    About number five-I would love some tips on that conversation. When I asked the k1 teacher what their plans were for emergencies, she looked at me like I had two heads. We live in New England, serious snow issues happen pretty regularly. Not to mention things like the marathon last year, or crazy terrorist day. I phrased it in the context of weather related emergencies, because I didn’t want to freak her out, but now I’m left wondering what the plan is for more serious threats. His teacher is wonderful, but I’ m trusting her with my 4year old, you know? We have taken steps to work on number ten however-family karate class. My two year old daughter can take down the dummy! Loves it, and we have family fun that doesn’t involve TV or food. And it gives them an understanding of where mama goes three nights a week…

    • Mom with a Prep says

      In most schools now, they have to have published emergency plans. There should be a fire exit map at the door of the classroom, the school should have procedures in place for a lock-down. Check with the school office if the teacher doesn’t know. And awesome on passing the knowledge on to your kids!

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