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The summer is drawing to a close, and if you have a family, you know what that means: school season is upon us.
For most families, that means more than pencils and books – it means controlled chaos and creative schedule management.
But this is also the time to impress upon your children the importance of safety. Don’t let them roll their eyes. You never know when accidents might happen. As you stock up on school supplies, make sure to gather all the essential tips on back to school safety for kids.
Whether you’re a parent driving your kid to school in the morning or a parent shipping your teenager off to school with the hope that they’ll mind speeding laws the whole way there, sharing the road is a critical skill.
To clarify: yellow means slow down, not speed up. Red means stop, no ifs, ands, or buts.
So, for example, if you’re sharing the road with a bus and see yellow flashing lights, slow down. It means the bus is about to stop for children to get off or on. If you see red lights, stop with at least 20 feet between you and the bus – again, children getting on or off the bus.
Even if the lights aren’t flashing, keep an eye out for children, particularly in the morning and afternoon (school arrival and dismissal times).
If you want your teenager to drive safely, this is a do-as-I-do situation. If your teenager rides to school with you and you take speed limits as a friendly recommendation, or block crosswalks during red lights, they’re probably not going to listen to you when you lecture them about safe driving.
If you live close enough to school that your kids can ride their bikes, the rules of the road are equally important, especially for younger kids, since they’re smaller and harder to see.
Step one of bike safety: teach your kids how to ride on the road. They should always ride on the right-hand side of the road, in a single file. This way, they’re riding along with traffic.
Pop quiz: Do you a) ride your bike across the street, or b) walk your bike across the street?
If you answered B, you’re setting your kids up for success – especially if you outfit them in helmets and bright clothing.
And speaking of clothes, pay attention to what your kids are wearing (and carrying).
Your kids’ clothing isn’t just a matter of what is and isn’t appropriate. It’s also a matter of what’s safe to wear at school. If you know your kids run around, make sure they have the right clothes and shoes for it. If they play sports, make sure they bring the right gear to school with them.
Then, there’s the issue of backpacks.
In order to avoid injury, backpacks should distribute weight as evenly as possible. To that end, make sure your kids have backpacks with wide straps – and that they wear both straps.
If they have to carry heavy items, make sure to put the heaviest items in their backpack first. This will keep the weight close to their back, which will help reduce the strain.
Back to school safety for kids is an ongoing battle every parent is familiar with. When they’re little, they just want to have fun. When they’re teenagers, they huff and puff and roll their eyes.
But this is a fight that’s worth pursuing. You love your kids and you want them to be safe, which means you need to teach them the value of safety.
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