Is your kid going off to college for the first time? As parents one of our first concerns is safety. Will they be safe? Will their stuff be secure in their rooms?
We’ve put together a list of safety items for your college student. It’s always a good idea to check state and local regulations, college regulations, and dorm rules to see what is allowed and what is not.
It’s also a good idea for your kids to take a first aid class, CPR class, and a self-defense class to learn skills that will help your student in college and beyond. If your child is taking a car to school, make sure they have roadside assistance and their car insurance card (and know how to use both).
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17 Safety Items for Your College Students
- Flashlight. A mid-sized flashlight next to the bed is a good idea to be prepared for power outages (or if they need to get up in the middle of the night without waking their roommate). A smaller-sized flashlight is good to carry in a purse or backpack for walking around at night or trying to open a key lock in the dark.
- Personal alarm. For extra safety when walking (or on an exercise run) it’s a good idea to have a personal alarm either attached to a purse or backpack or clip on to your clothing when exercising.
- Pepper spray. Pepper spray is good to have in addition to a personal alarm. Make sure to check state, local, and college regulations. Also, make sure your child knows how to use it. Remember to check the expiration date as they have to be replaced regularly.
- Stun Gun. A stun gun is an alternative to pepper spray.. Make sure to check state, local, and college regulations. Also, make sure your child knows how to use it.
- Stun gun (can’t ship to states where must be 18+)
- Stun gun (can’t ship to states where must be 18+)
- Fire Extinguisher or Fire Blanket. If your child has an on-campus apartment with a kitchenette or living off-campus, a fire extinguisher is important in the kitchen. Dorms should have extinguishers on the floor – check to see what is provided, check expiration dates, show your child where they are located, and make sure they know how to use them. For apartments and off-campus housing, it is a good idea to purchase them unless they are provided (and one is located in the kitchen). Fire extinguishers should be good for both electrical and grease fires.
Make your child knows the escape routes (stairwells, fire escape) and how call for emergency help (on-campus and off-campus)
- Carbon Monoxide detector. Make sure their dorm room or off-campus housing has working carbon monoxide detectors or bring your own to make sure. Bringing one along when traveling especially when staying at AirBnBs or traveling out of the country is also a good recommendation.
- Personal Safe. Personal safe for valuables, important documents, and prescription medicines. Is your child better with a key or a combination lock? Make sure to purchase what works best for them so they don’t get stuck without access.
- Airtags. A few Airtags (or Tile if they don’t have an iPhone) are useful to attach to items your student may misplace or get stolen (keys, wallet, purse, backpack). Always a good idea to put them in your suitcases when traveling if your kids will be flying to move to school.
- Renter’s Insurance. Renter’s insurance is needed to cover your child’s belongings, especially electronics. You have the option to insure the contents of their room, additional coverage for electronics, and liability insurance. Look into adding on to your Home Owners policy, if the school offers options for dorm coverage, or if they should have their own policy. For stand-alone policies, Gallagher or NSSI insurance are popular insurance providers.
Take photos of all of their belongings when they move in especially electronics and valuables in case documentation is needed later.
- Tracking app. Your kids are going off to college and have earned independence. But for safety reasons, it is good to use an app like Life360 or Apple location sharing. Use with caution and don’t stalk their every move and only check when needed for an emergency. Encourage your college student to use Life360 with their friends so they can keep track of each other when they go places.
- First aid kit. Send your kid off to school with a stocked first aid kit and make sure to also include medicines for cold, flu, and digestive issues. Make sure they know where the campus health center is located and that they have and their health insurance card (and know how to use it)
- Condoms. While we as parents have our own thoughts about college kids having sex, it is their decision. Providing condoms does not encourage them to have sex but provides them protection from pregnancy and STDs if they decide to be sexually active. Having Plan B as a backup is also something to consider (plan B is birth control, not an abortion pill).
- Narcan OTC. Something to consider or check to see if it’s available on campus. Narcan is a drug that reverses the effects of an opiate overdose if given in time. Because timing is so critical, already having it is important to be able to save someone. Cost and prescription required regulations vary by state. Recently (March 2023) Narcan OTC was approved by the FDA for sale without a prescription. It’s a good idea to educate your child on the signs of an overdose so they can help a friend in need.
- Drink covers or date rape drug detector strips. Make sure to talk to your kids about the dangers of spiked drinks. They should never link a drink unattended and only take a drink that is freshly opened (skip those large punch concoctions as you have no idea what has been put in there). Drink covers and detector strips are an additional level of protection.
- Uber gift cards. Send your kid off to college with Uber gift cards so they always have access to a safe ride home.
- Power Bank. Always good to carry a power bank in a purse or backpack so they’re never in an emergency situation with a dead phone. It’s a good idea to keep a second one always fully charged in the car.
- Car emergency kit. If your kids are taking a car to school, make sure it is fully stocked with emergency supplies. Consider Emergency roadside assistance (either through AAA or as an add-on to the insurance policy) for additional protection.
This is their time to fly. We can support by teaching them and providing resources and now it’s their time. Be there for advice and guidance and try not to let worry consume you. Hugs to the parents but its time to let them shine and be proud of their independence.