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Top Safety Items You Need At College

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Packing for college for the first time is no joke – less so when it comes to packing things that could help keep your daughter safe. Colleges might tout top notch security measures, but equipping your college student with her own tools is the best way to ensure her safety while she’s away at school.

Like anything in life, there are few guarantees. But under the category, “small things that make a big difference,” when needed, these items may count the most.

First aid kit. Band-Aids, Neosporin, Benedryl, a few Advil, Tums – no one plans to have an accident or to feel bad, but when they do, a small first aid kit with key items is a godsend, and can prevent a simple cut or injury from escalating into something worse.

Safety whistle. An easy way to get lots of attention, safety whistles are sometimes handed out during freshman orientation. It’s a low cost, low risk way to let others know something out of the ordinary might be happening, or to simply make one’s presence known, such as when riding a bike in traffic.

Personal safety button. From low tech to high tech - consider one of the new wearable safety devices. The Wearsafe Tag is a discreet, simple way to connect your daughter to help when she needs it. The one-touch button alerts a preselected circle of friends and family if she needs help, and provides an audio stream from her exact location.

Pepper Spray. There’s some debate about whether pepper spray is effective or not, but it’s seen as one simple tool to have in the arsenal among others. This product is disguised to look like a tube of lipstick.

A small safe. College dorms are highly social places, as they should be! But all those open doors and coming and going can leave her just a little bit vulnerable. Keeping valuables in a locked safe can make your daughter less susceptible to theft. This one is disguised as a book and can sit on a shelf.

Emergency credit card. Many parents send their kids off to school with a credit card, but consider establishing one that’s for emergency purposes only. Have a conversation about what constitutes an “emergency,” and then rest assured she’ll have the means to get home safely if needed. Set a low limit on the card if needed, or use a pre-paid card.

A self-defense class. Invest the time in a local self defense class before leaving for college and send your daughter off to school with some knowledge that could come in handy. If anything, it can boost her confidence and make her more alert about potentially dangerous scenarios. If one or two key pieces of information stay with her throughout college, it’s well worth the investment. Check with your local police department, local martial arts studios, and universities to see if they offer a class nearby, before your daughter takes off for school.

Once you’ve arrived on campus, unpacked the boxes and finished decorating the dorm room, reinforce safety messages with your daughter so you can both start the new semester with increased peace-of-mind.

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Doug Hampton-Dowson

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