It’s that time of year again! Parents are stocking up on pencils and preparing for another school year, but with the joy of school comes some dangers; we’re here to give you a few tips on keeping your family safe.
Sometimes buying the cutest supplies doesn’t mean you’re buying the best. Keep the following tips in mind when purchasing your child’s school supplies.
- To prevent injury, backpacks should have wide straps, padding in the back and shoulders, and should not weigh more than 10 to 15 percent of a child’s body weight.
- A backpack should also have a chest strap and multiple compartments for better weight distribution
- 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.
- Pay close attention to the way the backpack is fits on your child’s back. It should rest evenly in the middle of the back near their center of gravity, and should not extend below the belt for than a couple of inches
- Art supplies in the classroom should always be non-toxic. Be sure they have “CONFORMS TO ASTM D-4236” on their packaging.
As a parent you should alert the school if you notice anything unsafe about the playground equipment. Here are a few hazards to look for:
- Protective surfaces should extend six feet in all directions around the playground equipment. For swings, it should extend twice the height of the set.
- Be watchful of sharp edges or points on equipment.
- 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.
Now that you know you’ve done your best to keep your child safe while they’re in school, let’s talk about getting them to and from. Whether you’re driving your child to school or they’re taking a more independent route there are safety hazards to be mindful of.
School Bus Safety
- Make sure your child stays out of the street and avoids horseplay while waiting for the bus.
- Be sure your child knows the bus must come to a complete stop before getting on or off.
- When riding the bus, make sure your child understands they must remain seated and keep their head and arms inside the bus at all times.
Driving in a School Zone
- Be on the lookout for school zone signals and always obey the speed limits.
- When entering a school zone, be sure to slow down and obey all traffic laws.
- Always stop for school busses that are loading or unloading children.
- Be aware of and watch out for children near schools, bus stops, sidewalks, in parking lots, etc.
- Never pass other vehicles while driving in a school zone.
- Never text while driving.
As your child gets older they may want to walk to school. This can be a great source of exercise but don’t forget to educate your child on how to safely walk to and from school.
- Use the same route every day and never use shortcuts.
- Always use public sidewalks and streets when walking to school.
- Demonstrate traffic safety awareness and pick the safest route between your home and the school and practice walking it with your children.
- Try and walk to school with other students. There is strength in numbers.
- Teach your children to recognize and obey traffic signals, signs, and pavement markings.
- Only cross streets at designated crosswalks, street corners and traffic controlled intersections.
- Always look both ways before crossing the street and never enter streets from between obstacles like parked cars, shrubbery, signs, etc.
- Avoid talking to strangers. Teach your children to get distance between themselves and anyone who tries to approach or make contact with them.
- Teach your children to never get into a vehicle with anyone, even if they know them, without your permission.