Millions of kids are returning back to school over the next few weeks. As you prepare to send your child or children back to school, this is a good time to review safety tips for getting to school. These are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
If Your Child Walks to School
Review common street safety. Stop, look, and listen. It’s common sense to us adults, but not necessarily to children, especially when they are distracted. Remind them to stop at the curb, look both ways, watch for cars in the street and driveways, and listen to the crossing guard.
Discuss stranger safety. Children walking to and from school can be easy targets for child predators. Now is a great time to discuss what to do if a stranger approaches them. Practice shouting “NO!” and running. (Some experts report that yelling “FIRE!” will get more attention from more people.) Also, discuss some common strategies these predators use to lure children away, such as asking a child if they want candy, or saying they need help looking for a lost puppy.
If Your Child Rides a Bike to School
Emphasize that wearing a helmet is always necessary.
Review rules of the road and bike hand signals.
Make sure the route they will be traveling is in good condition and not an area of heavy car traffic.
If Your Child Rides a Bus
Review with your child street safety, such as staying put at the curb until the bus has come to a complete stop and looking both ways before crossing to the bus.
Emphasize that they must listen to the bus driver’s instructions.
Encourage them to discuss with you if any child or children are being mean to them or others. Suggest that they sit closer to the front where the bus driver can hear more of what is going on.
If You Drive Your Child to School, Or if Your Teenager Drives
As always, use seat belts and child seats appropriately. Keep children under 13 years of age in the back seat.
Set a good example and try to avoid texting and talking on the phone while driving. Your kids will watch and mimic your behaviors.
Obey the school speed limit signs.
If your teenager drives to school, limit the number of other children that can be in the car, and discuss cell phone safety (i.e., don’t use it while driving!). Statistical studies have shown that, with each additional passenger in the car, a teen driver’s risk of a fatal accident goes up.