Sebastian Police offer tips to keep you safe this holiday season

SEBASTIAN — The Sebastian Police Department wants to wish you a safe and happy holiday season. The following are some safety tips that could help you and your family stay safe.

1. If you see something – Say something! At home or while out, call law enforcement if you see something wrong.  Allow an officer to dispel or address any concerns.

2. Teach your children to stay with you at all times while shopping. Instruct children on the dangers of strangers. Children should always check first with you or the person in charge before they go anywhere. Always supervise your children in a public facility and accompany young children to the restroom. 3. Make a plan in case you become separated. Have older kids meet you in a pre-designated spot (e.g. the sales counter or mall information booth). Teach younger children to look for people who can help within the store or mall – a salesperson with a nametag, a mother with children, a uniformed security officer, etc. They should never leave the store/mall or go to the parking lot to look for you or your car.

4. Turn shopping trips into opportunities for your children to practice safe shopping skills.

5. Leave clothing that displays your children’s names at home, as it can prompt unwelcomed attention from people who may be looking for an opportunity to start a conversation with your children.

6. Never leave children in toy stores or public facilities (e.g. video arcades, movie theaters, playgrounds) and expect store personnel to supervise your children.

7. Have older children take a friend, if you allow them to go shopping or to public functions without you. It’s more fun and much safer. Older children should check in with you on a regular basis while they are out. Agree on a clear plan for picking them up including where, what time, and what to do in case of a change in plans.

8. Make other arrangements for childcare if you feel that you will be distracted during holiday shopping.

9. Designate a driver – When attending a party, always designate a sober driver, if you are the host of a holiday gathering, provide non-alcoholic beverages for guests who are driving.

10. Park in well-lit areas.  Lock and secure your car.  Place packages and other valuables out of sight.  When returning to your car, try to leave with a group of people.  Check the outside and inside of the vehicle prior to entering.  Have your keys available to open the door, get in and then lock the doors.

11. Maintain your vehicle.  Keep your vehicle in good running condition with a full tank of gas, to prevent you from becoming stranded.

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