#childsafety | Back-to-school safety tips as kids head back to class

Tips for protecting kids from school emergencies

1. Talk to kids about school violence. This is particularly important if your child has learned about a recent emergency situation. Talk about violence-based emergencies generally and in an age-appropriate way allowing for children to express their concerns or ask questions. Never lie to children. Focus on safety, helping children recognize the plans that are in place to protect them in all types of emergency situations.
2. Teach children appropriate response options. They include getting to a safe place, exiting the building when possible, and hiding out as necessary.

(For more detailed direction about how to talk to kids about school shooting and other emergencies, visit savethechildren.org. This photo from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security shows a memorial site commemorating the victims of the Robb Elementary School shooting. | Wikipedia Commons)

Tips for avoiding potentially dangerous people

1. Learn the difference between a good stranger, who is a helpful person such as a police officer in uniform, and a bad stranger, such as someone who tries to grab a child or usher a child into their vehicle.
2. Never accept treats or gifts from strangers without permission from a parent or guardian.
3. Quickly walk (or run) away if a stranger approaches you. If a stranger tries to follow a child, something is not right.
4. If a stranger tries to grab a child, that child should kick, scream and run.
5. If a stranger gets uncomfortably close, the child can bite the person to get free.
(Information source: safety4kids.com/Photo is from Bigstock)

Safety tips for walkers

Parents and guardians should practice walking to school with their children and follow these safety tips:

1. Walk on the sidewalk when one is available. When there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.

2. Stop and look left, right and then left again before crossing streets.

3. Make eye contact with drivers before crossing, and always cross at crosswalks or intersections.

4. Stay alert and avoid distracted driving.

(Photo: oliveromg/Shutterstock)

Safety tips when driving kids to school

Parents and guardians driving students to school must always stay alert and avoid distracted driving. Additionally, they should follow these tips:

1. Obey school zone speed limits and follow the school’s drop-off and pick-up procedures.

2. Make eye contact with children crossing the street in front of the vehicle.

3. Never pass a school bus picking up or dropping off children.

4. When stopping near a bus, keep enough distance to allow children to safely enter and exit the bus.

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Safety tips for teens driving to school

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), car crashes are the number-one cause of death for teens. To keep teens safe while on the road, share these tips:

1. Parents and guardians should practice with new drivers each week before and after they receive their license to help them gain driving experience.

2. Lead by example and drive in safe ways as a way to teach teens.

3. Sign an agreement, such as the NSC’s
New Driver Deal, that defines expectations for parents and teens.

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Safety tips for bike riders

Parents and guardians should practice riding bike routes with children and offer these tips to student bike riders:

1. Ride on the right side of the road with traffic and in a single file.

2. Stop completely before crossing streets. It is best to dismount and walk bikes across the streets.

3. Avoid distracted driving while riding a bike.

4. Make sure children wear properly fitted helmets and bright clothing.

(Photo: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock)

Safety tips for bus riders

1. Parents should go to the bus stop with their children and teach them how to safely get on and off a school bus.

2. Inform kids to stand six feet (three giant steps) away from the curb.

3. If a student must cross the street to get on the bus, teach them to stand 10-feet in front of the bus so the child and bus driver can see each other.

(Photo: Maria Dryfhout/Shutterstock)

Each year at back-to-school time, parents must reconcile the need for their kids to be educated with the hard truth that we cannot always control their environment nor the people children meet when they are away from home.

With gun violence statistics reaching historic highs, the call to talk with youngsters about active shooter safety and other school-day risks has never been more urgent.

Despite the fact that shooting violence in schools accounts for less than 1% of child fatalities, Save the Children® reports, 2022 has been a dangerous year for gun violence. By July, there had already been more than 300 mass shootings in the U.S., according to The Washington Post. Among them looms one especially tragic rampage: The May 24, 2022 shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, an incident that took the lives of 19 children and two teachers.

It follows that seven out of 10 parents now worry that their kids will face a school shooting, and a notable portion of them are “very concerned about the prospect,” says Save the Children®.

Some parents may also be concerned that today’s kids must endure active shooter and lockdown drills at school. But this modern phenomenon makes it that much more essential to process such experiences with kids and help them understand everything they can do to stay safe in the world.

Pint-sized street smarts

School shootings aren’t the only risks that children will weather during the 2022-2023 school year. There are steps kids can take to mitigate more common safety threats such as biking accidents, auto accidents or “stranger danger.”

The slideshow above highlights several safety tips for keeping youngsters safe during the 2022-2023 school year. 

To help prepare students and their parents and guardians for school, the National Safety Council (NSC) shares key tips that will help kids safe while traveling to and from school throughout the year.

In addition to transportation safety, the NSC also offers tips to ensure students’ safety at school. What follows are ways parents and guardians can help prevent school-related injuries:

  • Inform children to use both straps of their backpack to distribute weight evenly.
  • Avoid overstuffing backpacks. Backpacks should weigh no more than 5-10% of the student’s own weight.
  • Rolling backpacks can be hazardous and can cause trips and falls in crowded hallways. These should be used cautiously.
  • Children should leave hanging jewelry such as necklaces and jackets with drawstrings at home to avoid strangulation risks at playgrounds.
  • Minor bumps and bruises are expected in children who play sports or outside, but head injuries should never be ignored, and consulting a medical professional is advised.

Heather Turner contributed to this report.


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