School Safety Tips

backtoschool 2Summer is winding down. The new school year is right around the corner. It’s an exciting time for everyone.  It is important for adults and children to review safety procedures prior to the start of school, so everyone can have a safe and healthy school year.

The new school year means adjustments for everyone – for the kids it’s adjusting to a more structured schedule and for adults it’s adjusting to an increase in pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular traffic.  During the first few weeks of school the bus drivers and the kids are adjusting to the new routes.  Additionally, there may be kids walking or riding bikes to school in your neighborhood.   It is important to remember that traffic in your area will increase and school speed zones will be enforced, so you should allow extra time to get to your destination.  Drivers should pay particular attention in and around school zones.

Parents are also reminded, when dropping their children off at school, to avoid traveling more than 5 mph while in the school parking lot and be very attentive to the possibility of wondering children or children exiting from school buses or vehicles.

Parents are encouraged to review the following safety procedures with their children:

For children walking to and from school:

• Consider if your child is mature enough to walk to school

• Consider walking with your child the first week

• Make sure your child’s walk to school is a safe route and they cross whenever possible where a crossing guard is present

• Always walk on a sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk and you have to walk in the road, always walk FACING traffic

• Walk in groups

• Before crossing the street, stop and look left, then right, then left again

For children biking to and from school:

• Always wear a helmet, no matter how short the ride

• Ride on the right side, the same direction as traffic – in a single file line

• Be seen – Be aware – Be predictable

• Respect traffic lights and stop signs

• Remember to always walk your bike across a crosswalk

For children riding a school bus to and from school:

• Arrive at bus stop at least 5 minutes before bus is scheduled to arrive

• When bus approaches stay back at least 6 feet from the curb and wait until bus stops and driver opens doors

• NEVER walk behind the bus

• If you need to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the side of the road until you are at least 12 feet in front of the bus, then cross the street.  You should be able to see the bus driver and the bus driver should always be able to see you.

• If you drop something near a bus tell the bus driver

• Use handrails when entering or exiting bus

• Always remain seated on a bus

Preventing backpack-related injuries:

• A backpack should have ergonomically designed features to enhance safety and comfort

• Don’t overstuff – the backpack and contents should not weigh more than 10-20% of your child’s body weight  (ie. a child weighing 60 pounds should carry a backpack no heavier than 12 pounds)

• Ask your child to wear both straps to evenly distribute the weight

Playground safety:

• 80% of playground accidents are caused by falls to the ground, so avoid structures built over concrete, grass or dirt.   Instead seek playgrounds with a soft surface, such as wood chips, mulch, pea gravel, sand, rubberized mulch or rubber mats

• Remind children to remove bike helmets when on playground equipment – the helmet can get stuck in bars causing entrapment and the straps can cause strangulation

• Large structures with climbing equipment, horizontal ladders, sliding poles and ropes should not be used by children under the age of 4

• The majority of playground accidents and injuries happen on monkey bars – in fact the numbers are so high that many experts recommend schools remove these from their playgrounds

• If your school has a playground with monkey bars – warn your child to only use the monkey bars under close supervision with a spotter

We wish you and your family a happy and healthy school year.

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