With a new school year comes many safety considerations. Here are some ways you can help keep your child safe while going to and from school, and during their day.
Safety tips during the school day
During this pandemic, many children are concerned about staying safe and healthy. Have a two-way conversation about how your child is feeling, and help them to adopt some coping strategies, such as wearing a mask, washing or sanitizing their hands frequently, and following their teacher’s advice. Remind them that many people are working hard to keep everyone safe, and that they can always talk to their teacher or you if they are anxious.
Outside of pandemic considerations, the following tips will help to keep your child healthy and safe at school.
- Label your child’s clothing or backpack with their name in a hidden location.
- Depending on your child’s age, make sure they know their full name, their address, your full name, and how to reach you. Knowing the name and contact info of a trusted neighbor or family member is a good idea too.
- Discover and familiarize yourself with the emergency procedures in place at your child’s school.
- A child’s backpack should not weigh more than 10 percent of your child’s weight, and should be carried on both shoulders.
- Teach your child the basics of playground safety, such as not running while on the equipment, ensuring they hold on to any handrails or guardrails, and to watch out for other children.
Safety tips for walking to school
It’s recommended that you or a trusted adult walk your child to school if they’re younger than 10 years old. Walking to school with other children can also add extra safety.
- Walk the route to and from school with your child to ensure that they are very familiar with it.
- Teach your child to stop and look both ways when crossing the street, and to only cross at proper intersections when it’s safe to do so.
- Ensure that your child doesn’t take shortcuts on their walk.
- Make sure your child obeys any crossing guards on their route.
- If possible, dress your child in bright colors or lighter shades so they are extra visible to drivers.
- Teach your child never to talk to strangers, approach their car, or accept rides. Many families create a special password that is only known by trusted adults.
- Help your child identify “safe” adults that they can turn to in an emergency, such as uniformed police officers, other parents, or crossing guards.
Safety tips when driving to school
- Double-check that your child’s car seat or booster seat is in good repair and still the appropriate size for your child.
- Ensure that your child has their seat belt buckled before driving.
- Teach your child to enter and exit the car on the curb side. If exiting on the traffic side is necessary, help your child to do it.
- Pick up and drop off your child as close to their school as possible, and make sure they’re on school grounds or inside the building before you leave.
- Watch for children who may dart out from between parked cars. Be prepared to stop suddenly if necessary.
Safety tips for the school bus
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends you teach your child the “SAFE” acronym for bus safety:
- Stay five steps away from the curb.
- Always wait for the bus driver to tell you when to board.
- Face forward after finding a seat on the bus.
- Exit the bus when it stops, look left-right-left, and take five steps away from the bus toward the curb.