One word can make any parent’s blood run cold: kidnapping. Every parent knows the fear, that their child could be walking home from school, or from the school bus stop, and simply be scooped up by a stranger and vanish forever. It’s enough to make otherwise rational people go to extreme lengths to avoid the barest chance that their child could fall victim to this kind of crime.
Just how safe is it to walk to school, or to take the bus from school? Should you be worried about your kids any time you’re not directly supervising them? Read on for important information about school safety.
No one and no thing can guarantee perfect safety. However, you can look at statistics for some comfort. Generally speaking, children walking to and from school in the average American neighborhood are perfectly safe, especially if they’re walking in groups with their friends. While neighborhoods vary, and some are more dangerous than others, your kids generally aren’t at any kind of risk of kidnapping from actual strangers.
Most kidnappings are committed by one of the child’s parents, or by a close family member or family friend. Strangers, by and large, don’t abduct or otherwise harm children. Strong cultural taboos about adults even approaching children make such scenarios vanishingly unlikely. There are some other dangers, however, that you should be considering.
Much more pressing, and realistic, than kidnapping is the threat of getting hit by a car while walking to school. Car accidents, unlike abductions, happen every day and often impact pedestrians. If your kids walk to school through an area with heavy traffic, impress upon them the importance of walking on the sidewalk, far from the street, and never crossing in the middle of the road.
Make sure your kids know to only cross at crosswalks, when there is no traffic. If there are crossing guards near the school, then make sure your kids know that they’re completely safe with crossing guards and to directly follow their instructions whenever they’re crossing the street.
In some areas, traffic is heavy enough to present a serious obstacle to kids who try to walk to school. In these scenarios, it might be better to find a ride for your kids to get them safely to school instead of having them walk themselves. In either event, safety should always come first.