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Send Your Kids Back to School Safely

Traveling to and from School

  • STOP: Teach your child - whether walking, biking, or riding the bus to school - to obey all traffic signs and traffic officers. Remind them to routinely stop at every street.
  • HELMET: If your child bikes, make sure they wear a helmet that meets safety standards. Research indicates that a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury.
  • STAY BEHIND BUS: Tell your child not to bend down in front of the bus to tie shoes or pick up objects, as the driver may not see them before starting to move.
  • PLAN THE PATH: Plan a walking route to school or the bus stop. Choose the most direct way with the fewest street crossings and, if possible, with intersections that have crossing guards.
  • SAFE RIDING: Remind your children to stay seated at all times and keep their heads and arms inside the bus while riding. When exiting the bus, children should wait until the bus comes to a complete stop, exit from the front using the handrail to avoid falls and cross the street at least 10 feet (or 10 giant steps) in front of the bus.
  • 911: Be sure that your child knows his or her home phone number and address, your work number, the number of another trusted adult and how to call 911 for emergencies.

On the playground

  • SAFE EQUIPMENT: Check the playground equipment at your child's school. Look for hazards such as rusted or broken equipment and dangerous surfaces. Spaces that can trap children, such as openings between ladder rungs, should measure less than three and a half inches or more than nine inches. All elevated surfaces, such as ramps, should have guardrails to prevent falls
  • SUPERVISION: Make sure a supervisor is always present when children are at the school's playground. For smaller children, a spotter may be necessary.
  • SHOCK-ABSORBENT: If they fall, will they still be safe? Playground equipment should be surrounded by shock-absorbing material that is at least nine inches thick.
  • ATTIRE: Avoid any drawstrings on the hood or around the neck of jackets and sweatshirts. Drawstrings at the waist or bottom of jackets should extend no more than three inches long to prevent catching in car and school bus doors or getting caught on playground equipment.
  • PLAY NICE: Teach children proper playground behavior: no pushing, shoving, or crowding.
  • UP-TO-DATE TOYS: Make sure your child's school has up-to-date information on recalled toys and children's products.

School Supplies

  • BACKPACK WEIGHT: To prevent injury, backpacks should have wide straps, padding in the back and shoulders, and should not weigh more than 10% of a child's body weight. Rule of thumb: if the parents can't curl it, it's too heavy.
  • BACKPACK WEAR: Children should always use both backpack straps for even distribution of weight.
  • PROPER PACKING: When placing items in a backpack, place the heavier items in first. The closer the heavier items are to a child's back, the less strain it will cause.

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