- If your child will be walking to school, take time to practice walking the route with them prior to the start of school. Always walk on the sidewalk if one is available. When on a street with no sidewalk, always walk facing the traffic. If your child will be headed to school without you, find another child in the neighborhood with whom your student can walk to school or ride on the bus.
- Take extra caution in school parking lots and work with your kids not to dart out in front of a parked car and always be aware of and watching the cars around them. School parking lots tend to be very hectic in the a.m. and parents are often in a rush to get to work or drop other kids off at another school.
- Make sure your children stand at least six feet away (or 3 giant steps back) from the curb when waiting for the bus. If your child needs to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the side of the road until you are 10 feet ahead of the bus. You should always be able to see the bus driver and the bus driver always should be able to see you.
- Don’t overstuff a backpack, it should weigh no more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s body weight and choose an ergonomically designed one when possible to prevent injuries to your child’s back.
- Remind your kids never to talk to strangers even if they are on the school property. Let them know school employees wear name badges with their photos. Have a “safe word” for approved adults your child may be riding with so they know for sure the person is ok with mom and dad. Just make sure the adult also knows the safe word.
- Children age 13 years and younger should ride in the rear seat of vehicles. Al passengers should wear a seat belt and/or sit in an age- and size-appropriate car safety seat or booster seat. When carpooling ensure every child is safely buckled in as not all children automatically buckle themselves in without reminders.
- Talk to your child about bullying before school starts and develop an action plan if they feel they’ve been bullied. A few signs parents should look out for are unexplained injuries, lost or damaged clothing, jewelry or electronics, loss of friends, difficulties sleeping, frequent headaches or stomach aches and declining grades.
- Dress your kids appropriately for the playground — no necklaces, purses, scarves or clothing with drawstrings that can get caught on equipment and pose a strangulation hazard. Teach your children that pushing, shoving or crowding while on the playground can be dangerous.
- Always provide proper clothing and shoes for gym class so your kids aren’t trying to run in boots or wearing a dress on gym day. Also check your children’s shoes to make sure they fit properly, not too tight to pinch their growing toes and not too big to cause tripping.
- For children who bike to school, teach them the hand signals for biking and have them ride their bike on a bike trail, bike lane, sidewalk or facing oncoming traffic. Bike helmets should be worn at all times, even for short trips. Provide your child with a bike lock so their bike is safe during the school day.
Miriam Sonenschein is the marketing coordinator at RubberMulch and a mom of four active kids. She provides her expert advice about a variety of child safety and outdoor play topics. Since 1997, Rubber Mulch has manufactured top quality rubber surfacing products for playgrounds, residences and commercial markets. Playsafer Rubber Mulch was handpicked by First Lady Michelle Obama for the White House playground due to their stellar reputation for superior safety, quality and service. Rubber Mulch pioneered the tire recycling industry with the most advanced technology and equipment to process scrap tires. Visit Rubber Mulch online. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and on their blog.