As we are nearing the end of the summer vacation, the bells that mark the start of a new school year are going to ring soon. While parents and caregivers are getting kids ready with the proper clothing and school supplies, it is vitally important to include discussions of essential safety practices as well. Especially for younger children, and those that are attending school for the first time. Keeping children safe is the number one priority. Here are a few important topics that every parent and caregiver should discuss with their children:
One of the most important things to make sure is that your children know their address and phone number, and know how to contact parents or other trusted adults that you have established. Understanding how and when to call 911 is also vitally important. Talk to children about never talking to strangers, accepting a ride or going anywhere with them. Talk about different scenarios and role play with your children what they should do to get away from any situation that makes them feel uneasy. If your child or children walk to or from school, set up a buddy system for them and let them know to never walk alone. Streets should be crossed at intersections, and they should use a route where the school has crossing guards whenever possible. Also, they must stay within the crosswalk and obey all traffic signals.
Children should know, or be reminded of, several things if they get to school by bus. Let them know that they must plan to get to the bus stop early and stay away from the curb as the bus arrives. They should board only their bus and not any other bus. Board only when the bus has come to a complete stop, and they have been instructed to get on by the attendant or driver. Teach them to stay in view of the driver and not walk behind the bus, as this is an area the driver doesn’t see. If they need to cross the street, make sure they know from the bus driver where and how he/she would like them to cross.
Parents and children aren’t the only ones that should be careful – drivers should be more aware too. They should know that there are children walking and biking to school, and keep in mind to slow down in school zones, as well as residential areas. Obeying the simple bus signals are extremely important as well. The yellow flashing light tells you that the bus is coming to a stop, and the red flashing light tells you that the bus has stopped and the children are getting off or on it. A driver should always wait before the lights are off and the bus starts moving, before they start driving again.
If children go to school by riding in a car, remind them to wear their seat belt. Car seats and booster seats are recommended for younger children, and they should sit in the back seat at least until the age of 13. Remind them that it is important to be respectful passengers and not distract the driver.
Bike safety is also a very important practice to talk about. Kids that ride their bike to get to school should always wear a helmet. Ride on the right side, in the same direction as the traffic and always on a trail or bike lane if one is available.
These are only a few of the things that you should discuss in your home about back-to-school safety. Watch for more topics in the coming weeks and as part of Hawkeye Communication’s commitment to overall safety. Let’s work together to make this a great and safe school year!