Going back to school is an exciting time for children as they look forward to entering the next grade level, seeing their friends and meeting new people. Yet it can also be a time of unforeseen dangers. By teaching children basic back to school rules and tips regarding their safety, they enter this exciting time with the knowledge and skills they need to stay safe while enjoying this special time and throughout the school year.
School Travel Safety Tips
Whether your child walks to school, rides a bike, takes a bus, or you drive them in a car, reviewing the following safety tips makes traveling to and from school a safer experience.
Walking to School - Tips for Parents
- If you feel your child does not have adequate pedestrian skills to walk to school, either walk with him until you are confident in his ability or make alternate arrangements for getting him to and from school.
- Practice the route with your child to be sure she knows it.
- Make sure the route your child takes is safe and has a crossing guard at intersections.
Walking to School - Tips for Children
- Never take a shortcut through a wooded area. Stay on the route you practiced with your parents.
- Walk to school with a friend or a group of friends.
- Wearing light or brightly colored clothing makes it easier for drivers to see you.
Traveling by School Bus
- Never step off the curb until the bus comes to a complete stop.
- Always use seat belts if the bus if equipped with them.
- Do not move around in the bus. Sit quietly in your seat.
- When leaving the school bus, stay in view of the driver and always cross the street in front of the bus.
- Even though traffic is supposed to stop for a school bus, always check both ways before crossing the street.
Riding a Bike to School
- Always wear an approved helmet when riding a bicycle.
- Wearing clothing that is bright and colorful makes it easier for drivers to see you.
- Learn hand signals and use them.
- Ride a bike on the right-hand side of the road traveling in the same direction as the traffic.
- Always stop for stop signs and follow the rules of traffic lights.
- Learn and follow the rules of the road.
- Do not listen to music on your smartphone or another device. Always pay attention to the traffic and listen to what's going on around you.
Riding to School in a Car
- Whether you are driving your children or carpooling, make sure each child is securely strapped into their seatbelt. Younger children need the appropriate car seat or booster seat for their age or size.
- Have each child exit the car using the door on the curbside so he or she isn't stepping out of the car into traffic.
- Do not leave the school until your child, or all those in the carpool, are safely inside the school building.
Backpacks have become a staple of back to school accessories. They are great for carrying books and other essential school items and are available in a wide variety of sizes, colors, designs and styles. Yet these useful bags are potentially harmful if not used correctly and can cause shoulder or neck injuries, back pain, and muscle and joint strains. The following tips on backpack safety help reduce the chance of injury.
- When a backpack is fully loaded, it should not weigh more than 15 to 20 percent of the child's body weight.
- Never carry a backpack over one shoulder using only one strap. Always wear a backpack using both shoulder straps.
- If a backpack has a waist strap, use it.
- Choose a backpack with wide straps. The best choice is a backpack with a padded back and padded straps
- Use all the compartments in the backpack to distribute the weight of the contents more evenly.
More Back to School Safety Tips
The following are a few general back to school safety tips:
- Talk to your children and reinforce the rules of stranger danger.
- Make sure not to pack foods for lunch or snacks that spoil quickly.
- Talk to your child about bullies and bullying. Explain to them what to do if a situation arises.
Have a Safe School Year
By being aware of their surroundings and following these tips, kids have a better chance of making it through the year safely. Take the time to talk about safety with your children so they're better prepared for whatever may come their way.