Back-to-school time often has parents preoccupied with shopping for new clothes and supplies, getting classes scheduled, after-school activities and more. With that never-ending list of to-dos, simple safety items can easily be forgotten or ignored. Take a few minutes to step away from all the preparation and review some of our safety notes from various sources around the web and help keep your child and others safe as they get back to the books!
Be Alert and Cautious:
Whether you have walkers, bike riders or drivers, it’s extremely important for all to be cautious and aware of their surroundings. Those big yellow buses and flashing lights will bring more congestion to the roads so traffic is bound to be slower with more people on the road making frequent stops. Be on the lookout for children biking and walking on sidewalks and using crosswalks. It’s important to follow posted speed limits in school zones. (NSC.org/Sharing the Road)
Be Careful when loading and unloading your children:
The National Safety Council reports that more children are hit by cars near schools than any other location. Don’t unload or load children across the street from the school or near moving traffic. According to healthychildren.org, there are 815 student casualties annually in the U.S. with 152,250 injuries occurring during regular travel between school and home, figures that do not include special activity trips and other school related journeys. (State Farm Back to School Safety Insights)
Discuss with your child your route, traffic and sidewalks -looking both ways and making sure a car comes to a full stop. You still will want to choose the most direct routes with fewest street crossings and intersections; with the least number of potential hazards.
If your child will walk to school:
Practice walking route with your child before the first day of school.
Map out the safest route using sidewalks, crosswalks, and cross streets when available.
When on a street with no sidewalk, walk facing the traffic.
Before you cross the street, stop and look left, right and left again to see if cars are coming.
Never dart out in front of a parked car.
Riding a bicycle to school:
Make sure your child always wears a properly secured and fitted helmet when leaving the house.
Be sure the bicycle is in proper working order.
Teach your children the rules of the road.
Ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, and in a single file.
Come to a complete stop before crossing the street. Walk bike across street.
Riding the bus to school:
Start off with a greeting and introduction of yourself and your kids to the bus driver.
Also show them the proper way to get on and off the bus.
Make sure your children stand six feet away (or 3 giant steps) from the curb.
If your child and you need to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the side of the road until you are 10 feet ahead of the bus. You should always be able to see the bus driver, and the bus driver should always be able to see you.
First time Teen driving to school.
Have your child practice driving the route with a licensed adult. Establishing safe routes to and from school.
Prohibit smartphone use and driving, which is now illegal in many states.
Understand the state laws for teen driving such as passenger restrictions.
Understand the state laws for teen driving such as passenger restrictions. For more info on teen driver safety see our previous blog Teen Driver Safety
For more complete listing of The National Security Council’s complete Back-to-School Safety checklist: