Now that summer is officially here, many children are spending their day with classmates, but outside of the classroom. While summer break is a great time to enjoy a bit of freedom, it also brings more concerns for parents.

Creating a communication and safety plan with your child is important to make sure you know they’re safe during the break.

Memorizing or carrying an emergency contact with them is one easy way for a child to reach you if there is an issue, especially if they aren’t old enough to carry a cellphone.

If your kid is responsible enough to carry a phone and stay at home alone, go over hypothetical situations. Practicing how to react in certain instances from a fire to a suspicious person can help them to remain calm and remember how to react.

When going for a bike ride or walk, ask what the route is and how long they will be gone. Though children might think this is annoying or overbearing, explain it’s for their own safety. If their ride to the store should only take 15 minutes, it might be a red flag if they’re still gone 90 minutes later.

Explaining why it’s crucial to follow the rules and communicate their plans should help them to understand that law enforcement might be called in to help if they don’t.

Our deputies never want to get the alarming call that a child might be missing, and a child probably doesn’t want to be the result of a search because they didn’t talk to mom, dad or the baby sitter.