Back to School Safety -- yes, it is nearly fall

With back to school coming up quickly, I believe it is a great time to refresh or address safety tips and plans with the kids.  So, I am going to post about several of the things I try to cover with the kids I teach each year.   

"In 2010, one-fifth (19%) of all children 5-9 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians."  Source:  Traffic safety facts:  Pedestrians, NHTSA 2012

Here are some ideas, and please chime in with more.   Do the walk to the bus, or school with your kid at least once or twice.  Go through where to stop, how to cross, and what to pay attention to.   Talk to them about using all their senses, not only their eyes.  Ask:  what do cars sound like.   Practice listening for them.   While you are out you could point out appropriate places they could go if they needed to quickly.  For example, a friends house, or the fire department, or a store.  Tell them who to ask for help from in those places.   Go in stores, make a game of it, if you needed help who would be a good person to talk to here.   I believe in teaching through play, and games, with kids.  Make it fun, not scary. 

Remind teens to pay attention -- cellphones, music, texting can put one at higher risk for accidents, as well as make them a simple target.  Talk with them about how to get to their cars in lots safely, how to scan keep aware of the surroundings, and to check out the car before getting into it.   Point out that parking under lights is a good idea.   And perhaps most importantly, have a talk with them about the choices that they would make if someone wants the car, phone, computer, or wallet.   What would you fight to protect, and what should you let go of.   

I tell the teens and adults I work with that despite being one of the most highly trained female martial artists in the country that I would totally ditch my phone, or wallet rather than fight.   I talk about my choice is that unless they want to harm me, or someone I am with, then I will do everything in my power to give it to them, and get away.   I will run, hide, yell, and give them all my money before I would fight. 

So more to follow this post on other subjects -- Please, add your thoughts, ideas, or things you have used that worked well.  This way we can learn from each other, and come together to make our community even more safe, and more fun.

you can reach me directly with any questions at strongheart@MercerIslandMartialArts.com   or call me at :(206) 230-9050

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