As children head back to school, they and their parents have lots to do to be ready for the first days of school. Clothing and supplies may be top priorities, but families also should focus on safety as students get back into the swing of school classes.
The following are some key tips families can keep in mind to ensure a healthy and happy upcoming school year.
School bus safety
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that school buses are the safest way for children to travel to and from school. The majority of school bus-related injuries occur while students are boarding and getting off the bus. Over the last 10 years, the NHTSA says nearly two-thirds of school-age pedestrians who were fatally injured by school buses or other vehicles were hurt after being struck while entering or exiting the bus.
While at the bus stop, children must remember to stay at least five large steps away from the road and wait to board until the driver says so. When leaving the bus, students should make sure there is no oncoming traffic and wait for a signal from the bus driver before crossing busy streets.
While on the bus, observe the rules and stay seated at all times. Keep the center aisle clear of backpacks.
Students may walk or bike to school if the school permits. School tends to begin during the morning rush hour, so students must exercise extreme caution when walking or biking to school. Stick to sidewalks whenever possible when walking. Cyclists should follow the rules of the road, including riding in the same direction as traffic. Choose the safest route as a family and practice it together to help students become comfortable with the route.
Choose an ergonomically designed backpack to enhance safety and comfort. Backpacks should weigh no more than 5 to 10 percent of the child’s body weight, advises the National Safety Council. Rolling backpacks should be avoided since they are a tripping hazard.