When raising kids, certain family milestones are times for sadness and gladness. You are happy because they have completed high school, and excited if they are going to experience college. You know you will miss them, and regardless of their choices, either to enroll in college, or seek a profession, they are still young, and believe me, you will worry about them. They are your kids, and you always have concerns, even when they are older; because you love them, you want everything to go well for them.
There are many safety factors to consider for young people. You probably have trained them since they were youngsters, but here are some reminders:
- They must understand that they are responsible for their own safety.
- They need to scope out their new surroundings, and be familiar with the safest routes they will be using.
- There’s always safety in numbers; go out in groups, or at least with a “buddy.”
- Never walk in dark places alone.
- Do not go to an ATM at night.
- Trust their instincts. If they are uncomfortable with what’s going on, don’t be afraid to leave. Most young people are going to try their wings. But if things get out of hand, they need to move on.
- Always carry cab fare.
- Consider taking a self-defense class.
- Always tell a roommate, friend, or someone else where they plan to be if they are going out at night. If plans change, they should let that person know, just in case they don’t return when they should.
- Have them make copies of important papers, credit cards, health cards, etc. and leave a copy with parents, just in case they are stolen or lost.
- Suggest that they have a “health buddy,” someone that will get them to a doctor or emergency room if necessary. They can do the same for that friend.
- Warm them of alcohol hazards. Never mix acetaminophens with alcohol, and encourage them to not overdo drinking, just because it seems to be the popular thing to do. They need to know that drinking and driving don’t mix. (Texting and driving don’t, either.)
Here are some safety items they should have:
- First Aid Kit
- Auto Safety Kit
- Smoke, carbon monoxide detectors if the apartment or dormitory doesn’t have them.
- Fire escape ladder
- Fire extinguisher
- Mace or pepper spray
- Key Chain Alarm
- Reflective vest for jogging or biking
- Fully charged cell phone
- ICE programmed on phone (in case of emergency) on cell phone; authorities know to check for this in order to notify family
Stay in touch with your kids; have them call you at least once a week, and let you know what’s happening in their lives. They need to know you are just a phone call (or text) away. Give them encouragement in the important choices they make. It’s hard to believe that that little boy or girl you sent off to kindergarten is now going off to college, the military, or a job. We send them our best for safe, happy, and successful futures.