On the travel between school and home, about 150,000 students suffer injuries every year. Before the first-day school bell rings, discuss these tips to help keep your child safe on his or her route.
If your child walks …
• Map out a safe route on sidewalks and across crosswalks.
• Practice walking the route with your child well before the first day of school. Talk about traffic and crosswalks — looking both ways and making sure a car comes to a full stop, for example.
• Find schoolmates who live along the way and want to walk, too.
• Outfit your child with helpful safety gear, including reflective tape on backpacks, jackets or shoes.
• Stress that phones should be put away, and eyes forward and alert.
If your child bikes …
• Find the safest route possible on well-lit streets with minimal traffic.
• Invest in safety gear, including bike lights and a properly fitting helmet.
• Discuss traffic rules and bike signaling.
If your child takes the bus …
• Introduce yourself and your child to the bus driver.
• Review bus stop rules such as waiting away from the road and always crossing in front of the bus, not behind.
• Remind kids to sit quietly while the bus is in motion and follow any additional rules the bus driver has.
• Go over what stop to get off at, along with what to do if your child accidentally gets off at the wrong stop.
If your child drives …
• Establish safe routes to and from school, and have your child practice driving the route with a licensed adult.
• Prohibit smartphone use and driving, which is now illegal in many states.
• Understand the state laws for teen driving such as passenger restrictions.
While at school …
• Talk about playground safety rules, for example, making sure equipment is dry and taking turns.
• Help kids identify a specific adult to ask for help if they feel unsafe or have a difficult interaction with another child.
• Work with younger kids to help them memorize your contact information, specifically phone numbers of parents, other caregivers, and emergency contacts.