I am sure that this can be a bittersweet time for you. Sending your beloved children off to college can be exciting as you see something they have worked so hard towards come to fruition. It could also feel liberating that you may have some more free time on your hands and at the same time you may feel sad because you will miss them so much.
While you shop for the extra-long bed sheets and stock up on snacks try to set aside time to talk to your kid about his or her safety while at school. As a parent, it’s your job to teach them about personal safety now that they are leaving the nest, because most likely their new school will not.
Here are a few ideas to get you started on how to prepare your kids to be safe and confident while still enjoying themselves at school:
1. Talk to kids about sexual assault
Whether you have a son or daughter, having a conversation about the difference between consensual sex and anything else is important. According to the Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN), college aged women are at a higher risk of sexual assault than women of any other age group. In fact, 23.1 percent of female and 2.2 percent of male undergraduate students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence or incapacitation. The most disturbing fact is that many assaults go unreported, which means the statistics are probably higher than reported.
2. Talk about safe partying
Since many incidents involve alcohol and incapacitation, speak to kids about setting safe limits on alcohol use. Teach them how blacking out can occur without any physical warnings and how to keep their drinks safe from being spiked.
In my book, Hear Me Roar: how to defend your mind, body and heart against people who suck, I wrote the 10 Cocktail Commandments to help people of any age manage their liquor including:
- Never drink on an empty stomach
- Watch when your drink is being prepared
- Keep your eyes on your drink at all times. (Yes, that means taking it to the bathroom with you)
- Have a glass of water in between every alcoholic drink to avoid dehydration and quicker intoxication.
Another great tip for safe partying is to always head out in a group and make sure that same group heads home together. If one member of the group can stay sober and be the eyes and ears for the group, even better. I’ve had sorority women tell me that person is called the “party mom”.
3. Send them off with a safety kit
Yes, snacks and a cozy comforter are nice but sending your kids off to school with a curated personal safety kit could actually help keep them safe from harm and able to protect themselves.
A first aid kit is an essential for any safety kit. A good safety kit should have all of the essential bandages, alcohol swabs, anti-bacterial ointments, cold medicine or vitamins, some anti-inflammatories and a scissor.
A Mace Brand personal alarm is something to definitely include for your student to keep on his/her keychain when out and about to set off if ever in a vulnerable situation.
Date rape drug detector strips are available online and great to add to your safety kit for your son or daughter to detect if their drink has been spiked.
Mace Brand pepper spray would be my last essential item for your safety kit to arm your student when alone, in a new town or city, driving or walking to and from work, classes or parties. You can never be too prepared.
Chances are your new student will be just fine and will stay safe throughout their college years as they learn how to fend for themselves and develop better street smarts. It’s always better to err on the side of caution and empower your kids to take personal safety into their own hands!
Cheers and good luck to you all,
Over one third of Americans will travel (50 miles or more) for at least one vacation this year, according to a recent AAA survey. Many more are planning two or three vacations to bond with family members. If you are among them, whether you plan on traveling stateside or abroad there are some safety precautions you can plan ahead for to reduce your chance of being a victim of theft, fraud or even of falling ill. Below are three areas of safety to plan ahead for.
1. Safety from fraud
Before you head out on your adventure, it’s a smart move to make printed copies of your passport, credit cards and travel itinerary to keep with you in case any of it goes missing. Keeping a copy of that information in a web based email account is another smart back up. Leave another copy with a friend or family member back home as well.
Be weary of overly nice, curious or helpful strangers, especially if it is obvious you are a tourist. There are tons of scammers, con artists and gypsies that make a living off of the unaware tourist. If you have questions about the area you are in or need suggestions, do that before you head out of the hotel by asking the concierge and being prepared with maps of the area.
2. Safety from theft
Pickpocketing is still a major crime especially in the following cities: Barcelona, Rome, Prague, Madrid and Paris. It also happens here in the U.S. and every major city around the world. You can protect your assets by planning ahead.
Fanny packs are so 1980, but you can buy more sleeker versions that you can hide under your clothes for even better protection. A Mace Brand Waistbelt is perfect to carry your identification, some money, a phone and hotel keys while you strut about your host city with your arms free to protect yourself and your belongings. If you need to carry more than that, be sure to carry a cross-body bag and have the opening zipper compartment in front of your stomach.
Stealing phones is also very common in certain areas. Keep on high alert while taking photos, especially selfies with your smart phone. Never keep it in your back pocket or in a backpack pocket that is easy to get to.
If you choose to travel with your Mace Brand pepper spray, remember that you must check it in your luggage. It will not be allowed in your carry on. A Mace Brand personal alarm is easy to travel with and can deter someone from robbing you if you set it off in a public place.
Lastly, leave your fancy jewelry at home and never flaunt it on social media. We all learned a valuable lesson from Mrs. Kardashian-West when she was robbed in a Paris flat by armed gunmen after showing off her big jewels on her IG account.
3. Food safety
I recently got very ill on a trip to Mexico. Luckily it happened the day I was supposed to be heading home and not in the beginning or middle of my trip. I was a little too lax about making sure I was careful not to drink water from the tap. I’m not sure if that’s exactly what did it, it could have been the tuna I ate the night before that was cooked slightly medium rare. Either way, I learned my lesson.
If you are in a country where water isn’t safe for Americans to drink you should stick to drinking bottled water whenever possible. My downfall was brushing my teeth with tap water because we were in a hip hotel and I got lazy. Also, be sure to order all of your meats and seafood closer to well done than medium or rare. Sushi lovers beware. I’m sure most of it is safe if you are eating from a reputable restaurant but because the fish is raw it does come with a higher risk.
If you do get very sick make sure you can hydrate your body as soon as you can keep liquid down. If you can find coconut water, Gatorade or even Pedialyte (if you’re desperate) drink that until you are hydrated and try to avoid flying while you are ill. Traveling with a small first aid kit that contains an anti-diarrheal and Tylenol is also a great idea!
Now off you go! Enjoy your travels.