The start of a new school year is finally here and it is time to speak to your child about back to school safety tips. And it is also important for us to go over these tips when driving through school zones. These safety tips will protect your child while walking or riding the bus to school. For drivers, remember it is against the law to pass a bus that has stopped to load and unload students. When you do come to a stop, make sure to leave plenty of room with at least 10 feet for students to cross the street safely. For the safety of your kids, remind them to look both ways when crossing the street. Another important safety tip is to avoid talking to strangers when heading to school.
When the first day of school ends your child will more than likely bring with them a backpack full of homework. With supplies and books your child’s backpack can cause them severe injury. You can help lighten the load of your child’s backpack and prevent slouching in a few ways. Since schools provide lockers remind your child to leave supplies and books that they will not need for the evening. If your child’s backpack is consistently heavy, speak with their teachers to see what items must be carried each day.
With the start of school, always remember safety first. Keep an eye out for your child but also for other kids getting to and from school.
Back to School Safety Tips
Driving in a School Zone
Keep an eye out for school zones when driving to work or dropping off your own kids at school. Always obey speed limits and slow down when entering a school zone. When you see school buses loading and unloading kids make sure you stop your vehicle. If kids are walking to school make sure you follow instructions from the crossing guard. Be aware of and watch out for kids at bus stops and sidewalks so avoid using a cell phone while driving in a school zone. Follow these back to school safety tips while driving in a school zone:
- Avoid passing other vehicles
- Never change lanes
- Do not make U-turns
- Make sure to never text and drive
Keeping Your Kids Safe on their Way to School
For one reason or another we may not be able to take our kids to school. This is when we go over safety tips with them whether they will walk part of the way to school, ride their bike or wait for the bus. In the days leading up to the first day of school we sit down with our kids to explain to them the rules. Remind your child it is important to follow all the back to school safety tips.
Taking the Bus
If they are taking the bus, your child must understand to always stay seated and not distract the driver while on the school bus. It is a good idea to wake up earlier and arrive at the bus stop before the scheduled time. Make sure your child avoids horseplay and stays off the street while waiting. And when getting on or off make sure the school bus comes to a complete stop.
Walking to School
Before starting school, walk with your child using the same route he or she will be taking daily. Always have them take the same route and leave early enough to arrive at least 15 minutes before school starts. Explain to your child that they must go straight home after school and vice-versa avoiding talking to strangers. Teach your kids to get distance between themselves and anyone trying to make contact with them whether in a vehicle or sidewalk. To stay safe when possible have them walk with other students or friends. If at any point anyone approaches your child have them immediately report the incident.
Riding their Bike
First, verify with you child’s school if riding a bike is allowed before sending them off to school on their bike. Some schools have rules for kids to ride their bikes only until they are in a specific grade. Make sure your child understands that wearing a helmet is not an option. Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury if they are involved in an accident. Another way to protect themselves while on the road is to obey signals and rules as car drivers do. Kids must ride their bike in the same direction as traffic. Learning the appropriate hand signals to use when turning will also keep kids safe. Riding a bike with a buddy will be safe as well as choosing a route where they will be seen.