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Family Watchdog
AUGUST means summer is closing in and the kids are going back to school. Which means it's the perfect time to run a FamilyWachdog search and check on your kid's route to school and to check the neighborhood the bus stop is.

Many states have laws that prevent registered sex offenders from living too close to schools and parks, but there are no laws that restricts their residence based on bus stop location. Given that suburban and rural America is scattered with bus stops, it is extremely likely that there are registered sex offenders that live near school bus stops. Registered sex offenders can move just like anyone else.

What if there is a registered sex offender near my child's bus stop?
A child should have a chaperone at each bus stop, this duty can be shared between parents (or even an older, responsible sibling) so everyone can make it to work on time while the children have a lookout. A chaperone will also serve as an aid to make sure the bus stops and there is no bullying.
Notify your school district and request that they move the bus stop. Most transportation directors are reasonable people that truly have your child's safety as their top priority. If you alert them to the situation, they will likely accommodate your request to move the bus stop. There are various reasons why bus stops cannot be moved so there are no guarantees.
If your child walks to school, make sure they understand that for no reason, should they stop and talk to strangers. If they are old enough and understanding, show them the offenders off of our site so they can avoid certain people.
And as always, if a child runs into a situation where as someone makes them feel uncomfortable, make them know to tell an adult as soon as they get to school so that the problem can be assessed as soon as possible.

We also wanted to make sure you and your children have a plan for after school activities and the buses for those programs. And we also wanted to make sure your children know what to do once they get home (if they are alone). Leave an emergency number list on the fridge and make sure a trusted neighbor can look after them. It might be a smart idea for the neighbor to hold onto an extra key since all kids will lose a key every now and then.

August is also National Immunization month. It has perfect timing since school registration is on its way and most kids must be up to date on their shots. Are your kids up-to-date?

It is also National Runaway Prevention Month. Admit it, it's one of a parents worst nightmares. Your child gets in an argument with you and takes off to who knows where. Here are a few tips about tapping into the mind of a troubled child:

• The best way to prevent a child from feeling alone, isolated and insecure is to spend time with your child and listen.
• Give you children your full attention when they need to talk. Put down the paper, turn off the TV and let dinner wait. Make your responsiveness a top priority.
• Take your children seriously. Don't dismiss their worries or fears.
• If you are worried about something you think or feel may be going on with your youth, talk with teachers and parents of their friends. They may have helpful observations and insights.
• If you tell your teen that he or she can talk to you about anything, then mean it. Help from outside sources and counseling professionals can help you become more comfortable talking to you teen about sensitive subjects.

You can read further on Runaway Prevention here:
 August 27 thru the 31st is National Safe at home week. We here at Family Watchdog like to make sure you are safe all the time.

Here are a few things we would like to remind you to check for safety:
• Tires - make sure your tires are at a good tread and road worthy.
• Cabinets - if you have a young child in the home, is everything bundled up so they cannot get into any medications or cleaning supplies?
• Kitchen - when was the last time you went through the very back of your pantry and cleaned out all expired food? This also gives you a great opportunity to donate the non-perishables you have to a food bank or homeless shelter.
• Outlets - make sure they are not overloaded and covers should be on the ones not in use.
• Locks and Doors - is everything working right?
• Fire Alarms should be checked monthly to make sure the battery is good and the unit still works.

For more on household safety and other forms of safety, please check out this site from The National Safety Council:
Testimonials from real people who use our site:

"I love this site it's free and so perfect for keeping the creeps away and knowing who lives in your area. I have used this site for 6 years now and will continue to do so ." - Time for Vacation, via facebook

"We are watching you, don't mess with us. We know. (who, what and where ) you are ." - M. Lilly

"Thank you very much for your tips. It's going to be a long summer with the kids out of school, but we'll be very careful. It's really great knowing we have you guys to get tips and advice from." - S. Brown, via facebook

Hope you all have a GREAT start to your school year!

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