As children get older, they will start to become more independent. Some may start walking to and from school by themselves, and some may meet up with friends outside school. When this happens will depend on each child and is a decision to make as a family. At St Andrews, our policy states that children in Y5 and Y6 can walk to and from school without a parent or carer, as long as we have received written consent for this to happen and that there are no behaviour concerns.
Whenever your child starts walking to places without a parent, carer or suitable adult, it is important that they know how to keep safe. Whilst incidents with strangers are rare and we don’t want to scare our children, we do need to make sure they know how to look after themselves and what to do in an emergency. Below are some tips worth sharing with your child:
* Plan ahead. Think about the route you are taking
* Avoid danger spots – like quiet or badly-lit alleyways, subways or isolated car parks.
* Make sure an adult knows where you are
* Let adults help strangers – if a stranger asks for help, direct them to an adult or go and find one yourself
* Keep your mind on your surroundings – remember if you are chatting on your mobile phone or wearing a personal stereo, you will not hear trouble approaching.
* If you think you are being followed – cross the road, turning to see who is behind you. If you are still being followed, make for a busy area and tell people what is happening.
* Stay away from strangers’ cars – you probably know not to get into a stranger’s car, but try to avoid strangers’ cars completely. Don’t look into a stranger’s car or put your arm in the window.
* Make a lot of noise!!! – If a stranger approaches you or follows you, yell for help as you run away. If a stranger tries to grab you, yell as loudly as you can and try to get away. You can shout things like, “Help! I don’t know you!” or “Help! This isn’t my dad!”
* Trust Your Instincts – if your instinct is telling you something is dangerous or not quite right, get out of the area, tell an adult, or 999. No one will think that you are silly.