Believe it or not, summer is winding down, and it’s just about time for kids to go back to school. School is, on the whole, a safe and controlled environment for kids, but you can never go wrong with a bit of extra caution. Check out our back to school safety tips to keep your little – and not so little – ones safe this fall.
Safety in Transit
Whether your kids, walk, ride the bus, or drive themselves to school, make sure you talk with them about the proper safety precautions.
Most kids know the basics of pedestrian safety by the time they’re old enough to walk to school on their own.
- Look both ways before crossing the street.
- Always cross at a crosswalk.
- Wait for the walk signal or the crossing guard’s go ahead if they are present.
- Walk on the left side of the road, facing oncoming traffic rather than facing away from traffic behind you on the right.
- Always use the sidewalk where possible.
In addition to these basic rules, our technological age has introduced additional risks. Kids can be easily distracted by their phones, just like adults. Make sure to tell them “phone down, head up” when walking. Teach them to be aware of their surroundings while walking and, if they need to use their phone, to step off to the side in a safe location to do so.
Taking the Bus
Taking the school bus is a safe mode of transportation for children, but it’s important that they know how to take basic precautions for themselves.
- Wait in a safe location, away from passing traffic, for the bus to arrive.
- Do not approach the bus until it has come to a complete stop.
- Use the handrail when boarding.
- Once on the bus, sit down and stay in your seat.
- Don’t distract the bus driver.
- Keep your belongings out of the aisles so that other students don’t trip.
- When getting off the bus, make sure the bus driver can see you.
- Make sure to look around for passing traffic as you exit.
Parents probably worry most about their teen drivers making their way to school and activities safely. Distracted driving is the number one danger for teen drivers (and adults as well). Take a few minutes to review our tips for talking to your teen about texting and driving. Teen drivers don’t have a lot of experience on the road, but they have taken drivers ed fairly recently, and should be very familiar with the rules of the road. Remind them that those traffic laws are there for a reason, and they aren’t just suggestions.
It’s common for kids to carry very heavy backpacks, but it’s important to keep an eye on just how much weight your child is carrying. If the weight seems extreme, check to make sure they are not carrying extra items that add to the weight unnecessarily. If that doesn’t lighten the load, consider speaking to teachers and administrators about the issue.
Try to choose a backpack with an ergonomic design and features to increase safety and comfort, such as padded straps and additional chest or waist straps. Make sure your kids are wearing both straps of their backpack to prevent fatigue and possible injury.
Sports and Playgrounds
When children get active, whether in competitive sports or just on the playground, there is always a risk of injury. Make sure you see the playground where your children have recess and bring up any concerns you may have with your child’s teacher or principal. If your children are on sports teams, you and they should be briefed on safety measures. Again, raise any questions you may have with the coach regarding the practice location, safety equipment, or any other issues that concern you.
Hope your back to school is fun and safe! Don’t forget to like and share!