The start of the new school year is almost here, which means it’s time for students to start gathering up their pencils, books and laptops. It’s also time for everyone to review basic safety tips, as back-to-school time also creates a number of safety challenges, from traveling on the roads to taking care on the playground. Protect your child’s health and well being, as well as the health and well being of others by following these tips.
Keep Kids Safe on Buses
Every state has a number of rules designed to keep students safe when they are getting on and off school buses. It’s important that all drivers know and follow these rules. For example, it is against the law to pass a bus that is stopped to let students on or off.
Today’s school buses feature an extending stop sign and red flashing lights that are lit when it stops to let children on or off. If you see red lights on a bus, stop, and don’t start driving again until the lights turn off and the bus starts moving again. When you do stop, make sure you give the students plenty of room to cross the street safely. The National Safety Council recommends leaving at least 10 feet of space between your car and the bus.
Go Over the Rules of the Road with Your Child
Whether your child walks part of the way to school or waits for the bus at the end of your driveway, back-to-school is the ideal time to go over road safety with him or her. In the days leading up to the first day of school, teach your child how to cross the street or remind him or her of the best way to do it, by looking left, right and then left again, to make sure no cars are coming. Remind your child to look before crossing even if a bus is stopped for them.
Remember that sidewalks are the safest place for your child to walk on the way to the bus stop or school. If there are no sidewalks, teach your child to walk on the side of the road facing traffic, so that he or she can see oncoming cars and the drivers of them can see your child.
Lighten Your Child’s Load
Your child’s backpack could cause severe injury. Doctors treat more than 7,000 backpack injuries a year, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. If your child looks slouched while wearing a bag or has trouble taking it off or putting it on, it’s too heavy. Try to keep the weight of the bag to no more than 20 percent of your child’s total weight. That can mean leaving some school supplies or books at home. If your child’s backpack is consistently heavy, you might want to have a word with the teacher about the number of things he or she needs to carry each day.
As school gets off to a start, remember to think safety first. You not only want to keep an eye out for your own child, but for other kids who are traveling to and from school.