On the travel between school and home, about 150,000 students suffer injuries every year. Before the first-day school bell rings, discuss these tips to help keep your child safe on his or her route.
If your child walks …
- Map out a safe route on sidewalks and across crosswalks.
- Practice walking the route with your child well before the first day of school. Talk about traffic and crosswalks — looking both ways and making sure a car comes to a full stop, for example.
- Find schoolmates who live along the way and want to walk, too.
- Outfit your child with helpful safety gear, including reflective tape on backpacks, jackets or shoes.
- Stress that phones should be put away, and eyes forward and alert.
If your child bikes …
- Find the safest route possible on well-lit streets with minimal traffic.
- Invest in safety gear, including bike lights and a properly fitting helmet.
- Discuss traffic rules and bike signaling.
If your child takes the bus …
- Introduce yourself and your child to the bus driver.
- Review bus stop rules such as waiting away from the road and always crossing in front of the bus, not behind.
- Remind kids to sit quietly while the bus is in motion and follow any additional rules the bus driver has.
- Go over what stop to get off at, along with what to do if your child accidentally gets off at the wrong stop.
If your child drives …
- Establish safe routes to and from school, and have your child practice driving the route with a licensed adult.
- Prohibit smartphone use and driving, which is now illegal in many states.
- Understand the state laws for teen driving such as passenger restrictions.
While at school …
- Talk about playground safety rules, for example, making sure equipment is dry and taking turns.
- Help kids identify a specific adult to ask for help if they feel unsafe or have a difficult interaction with another child.
- Work with younger kids to help them memorize your contact information, specifically phone numbers of parents, other caregivers, and emergency contacts.
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