Michael J. Cusick
Health and safety tips
for the new school year
School is starting and preparing our children for the new school year often
means new clothes, sneakers, backpacks and notebooks. It’s also important
to ensure kids have the information they need to cope with any dangerous
situation they may find themselves in. I have included a list of safety tips
specifically for school-age children. They may never need them, but it is
always better to be safe than sorry.
Teaching these simple safety tips will help ensure that our children have a
happy, healthy and, most importantly, safe school year.
Michael J. Cusick
Member of Assembly
Make sure your children know their full name, address, phone number with area code,
and parents’ names. Also teach them how to reach you in an emergency and how to
dial 911 from a pay phone.
From an early age, teach children to ask for help when they are lost or frightened.
For instance, uniformed police officers, a clerk in a store or a mother with children
are safer choices.
Before your children leave the house, make sure you know where
they’re going, who will be with them, how they’ll get there and when
they’ll be back.
Never let your children go anywhere alone. Remind them that there is safety in numbers.
Don’t let them
Teach your children not to go near people asking for directions, for help finding
or moving something, or claiming their mom or dad is in trouble.
Every parent should know if convicted sex offenders who prey on children live in the
neighborhood. Call 1-800-262-3257 or visit the state Sex Offender Registry Web site
to find out.
School-age Safety Tips
What’s the password?
It’s critical for children to have a password that other adults (besides mom or dad)
must say before the child can leave with them. Only share the password with your
children and those you arrange to accompany them.
How to report your missing child
Time is a critical factor in abduction cases. If you cannot find your child, immediately
call your local law enforcement agency and provide your child’s name, date of birth,
height, weight, and any distinctive marks such as eyeglasses, braces or scars.
Request that your child be entered into the National Crime Information Center’s
Missing Persons File and call the National Center for Missing and Exploited
Children at 1-800-THE-LOST.
Take every opportunity to reinforce safety skills. If an incident occurs in your
community, speak openly and frankly with your children while emphasizing the safety rules.
records up to date
In case of an emergency, it’s important tohave recent photographs, fingerprints, a
physical description and even DNA samplesof your children. Operation Safe Child
(see below) provides a fast and easy way to update your records.
Operation Safe Child
Statistics show that 34 percent of parents in the United States do not know their child’s exact
height, weight and eye color. Possessing up-to-date photographs and detailed information about
a child can greatly assist local law enforcement officials in quickly responding to a child’s
Parents can get a Safe Child Card made, which includes the child’s name, date of birth, gender,
height, weight, hair and eye color, and fingerprints. The card can be made in less than two minutes
and is easily carried in a wallet. For more information, visit
Student Driving Safety
As a parent, you might feel helpless knowing your teen is out on the road. You can’t always be in
the car monitoring every move, but there are several measures you can take to enforce safe driving
practices to set your mind at ease:
Mandate and enforce seat belt use
Minimize distractions for the driver
Follow the law — only two passengers under the age of
21 are allowed in the car unless they are immediatefamily members. Beginning in late
February 2010, the number of allowable passengers falls to one
Forbid the use of cell phones, texting or otherhand-held electronic devices while driving
Set a good example when you drive
Vaccines for Children
The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program provides immunizations to children who may not have
access otherwise. Children up to 18 years old are eligible for VFC if they are:
Several vaccinations are covered under the program, including polio, tetanus, flu,
measles and chickenpox. For more information on VFC, visit
In addition, the H1N1 flu vaccine is expected to be available in the fall. For the latest