As a mom, one of the biggest concerns you may have when your daughter moves into a dorm is her safety. If you’re anything like I was, you’re probably asking yourself: “what safety precautions should my daughter take when living in a dorm?” For expert advice contact personal safety expert and/or consider self-defense training programs for your daughter.
I am not a safety expert but, drawing on my over thirty years of working with college students, moms, and colleges as well as having daughters of my own – I am sharing what I have learned. Here are some safety tips for your daughter to keep in mind while living in a dorm:
- Always lock your dorm room door. Many college students make the mistake of thinking it is safe to leave the door unlocked especially if they won’t be gone long. Make sure your daughter knows to always lock the door, even if she’s just running down the hall to grab a snack from the vending machine. While it is important to lock the door when she leaves, it is equally important to keep the door locked when she is in the room! One problem is that others may have a key and/or code to the room. I gave my daughters some locks for the insides of their doors which you can buy here. Many students use doorstops to better secure their doors when they’re sleeping.
- Keep valuables out of sight. Students have friends and acquaintances in and out of the dorm rooms all of the time. Even if your daughter trusts the students she knows, she will not know all of her roommates’ friends and acquaintances. Obviously, your daughter will not always be in her room when visitors are there. It’s important to keep valuables like laptops and jewelry out of plain sight. Encourage your daughter to store these items in a locked drawer or cabinet, or invest in a safe or lockbox to keep them secure.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Campus can be busy and distracting. It’s important for your daughter to stay aware of her surroundings at all times. She should avoid walking alone at night and in isolated areas. She should use campus safety escorts and the other safety services offered on her campus. If her campus has a blue light system it is important she knows where those are located.
- Have a plan in case of an emergency. It’s important for your daughter to know what to do in case of an emergency. Make sure she knows how to reach campus safety, the local police, and encourage her to keep an emergency contact list accessible in case she needs to reach out for help. It is also critically important for you to prepare yourself so that you know the resources available. You want to be ready to help your daughter if she needs you rather than scramble at the last minute trying to figure out what to do. I offer an on-demand, online webinar: “College Uncovered: 10 Things Moms Need to Know about College Life” that walks you through some safety issues and other challenges on college campuses. You also get a downloadable resource booklet and customizable guide to help you plan ahead for how to help!
Hopefully, next time you find yourself awake at night wondering: “what safety precautions should my daughter take when living in a dorm?” You have some places to start!