It’s back-to-school season, and while most people are excited to start the school year, it can also be a stressful time for parents and students alike. One of the biggest concerns for parents is the safety of their children. As parents, it is our responsibility to ensure that our children are safe both at home and at school. In this blog post, we will discuss some back-to-school safety tips that will help both parents and students have a safer and more enjoyable school year.
1. Plan Safe Routes to and from School
Regardless, of how you plan for your child to get to school—ride, walk, or bike—make sure you have identified safe routes, and reviewed some basic safety tips.
Driving Your Kids to School
- Follow all school zone speed limits and stay alert for crossing guards or pedestrians.
- Do not pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
- Avoid double-parking or stopping on crosswalks to let children out of the car, as it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles.
- Make a habit of saying goodbye inside the car to avoid lingering at drop-off, which can cause congestion and pose a risk to children.
Walking to School
- Consider walking their route with them a few times, making sure it avoids streets with high traffic and abandoned buildings.
- Remind them to use sidewalks, crosswalks, and other paths designated for pedestrians. If there’s no sidewalk, they should know to walk facing the traffic.
- Encourage them to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them, ensuring the driver is aware of their presence.
- Promote the idea of walking in groups whenever possible, rather than walking alone.
- Teach them to remain vigilant of their surroundings and avoid distractions such as texting or playing games while walking.
- Remind them to stick to the planned route.
- Use a dependable tracking app to confidently monitor your child’s location and ensure their safe arrival at school.
Biking to School
- Encourage your child always to wear a helmet.
- Remind them to obey traffic laws like following traffic signals and signs, riding in the same direction as cars, and using hand signals when turning.
- Encourage them to be aware of their surroundings, watch out for vehicles, and never assume a driver sees them.
- Check-in with your kid each morning to ensure they have safely arrived at school.
Riding the Bus to School
- Tell them to arrive early at the bus stop, at least five minutes before the scheduled pick-up time.
- Make sure they know their bus route, their bus number, and where they should wait for the bus.
- Remind your child to wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and the doors open before approaching the bus.
- Make them stand at least three giant steps back from the curb as the bus approaches, and line up away from the street.
- Teach them never to stick their hands, arms, or head out of the window and remain seated while on the bus.
- If they have to cross in front of the bus, remind them to walk at least five giant steps ahead of the bus before crossing. They should make eye contact with the driver and wait for a signal before crossing the street.
2. Teach Kids About Stranger Danger
Your child should know to never talk to strangers, never accept candy or gifts from strangers, and never go anywhere with strangers, even if they say they know you or they know your parents. It’s also important to teach your children to never give out personal information to strangers, such as their name, address, phone number, or school name.
If a stranger approaches them, your child should know not to get too close, maintaining a space of at least arm’s length. They should be instructed to back away if a stranger attempts to violate this space and to notify a guardian or teacher of any incidents.
3. Talk to Your Child About Bullying
Bullying is a common issue in schools, and it’s important to have a conversation with your child about what bullying is and how to deal with it. Encourage your child to speak up if they see someone being bullied or if they are being bullied themselves. Also, let your child know that it’s not their fault if they are being bullied and that you are there to support them.
While it’s crucial to let your child know that they should not become a victim of bullying, it’s equally important to stress that they should never be the perpetrator. Open up a dialogue about the harmful effects of bullying and emphasize that it’s always better to treat others with respect and kindness.
4. Check School Policies
Take the time to read your school’s safety policies. Check to see if the school has procedures for emergencies and what to do in case of a lockdown or other safety concerns. Make sure you provide the school with updated contact information, including a phone number and email address, in case of emergencies.
In conclusion, safety should be a top priority for parents and students during back-to-school season. By following these simple tips, you can help ensure that your child has a safe and enjoyable school year. Remember, open communication between parents and children is key, so take the time to talk to your child about these safety tips and encourage them to speak up if they ever feel unsafe. Let’s make this school year a safe and happy one!