Back to School – Stay Safe
Summer is ending, and we are officially in the thick of the back to school season. This means there will be more street congestion, more children, teenagers, and parents on the streets, and more time added onto commutes. While schools across the area vary specific start dates, it is important to be consistently diligent through the August and September months.
According to the National Safety Council, otherwise known as the NSC, there are four specific areas of safety to practice additional care: general safety for students, driving safety, pedestrian safety, and clothing and school supplies safety. Follow these tips to ensure your children will have a successful year at school!
General Back to School Safety Tips
Nothing is better than the basics. The Red Cross advises that parents follow two pieces of age old advice.
- Sending your children off to school is frightening for any parent but especially for parents who are sending their children to school for the first time. If this is the case, make sure you child knows:
- the home phone number if your family has a landline
- their parents cell phone numbers
- their home address
- how to contact their parents at work or at their day time location
- how to contact their emergency contact or other trusted adult
- Stress to your children the importance of not talking to strangers or getting into a car with someone they do not know. It is important for children to know what to do in the event that a stranger does approach them. If this were to happen, children should run away, and immediately tell a teacher or another trusted adult.
Drive Safely Going Back to School
There are two drivers to consider when focusing on back to school driving: 1) parent drivers, and 2) new, teenage drivers. According to the NSC, car crashes involving teens increase during September and usually occur in the hours before school or after school. When sharing the road with new, inexperienced drivers who are driving to school, fellow drivers and parents should:
- Always obey speed limits, stop signs, posted school signs, and other posted roadway signs and rules of the road
- Slow down when entering a school zone (note: the required speed limit for most school zones is 20 miles per hour).
- Brake for school busses that are picked up or dropping off students
- Stop for crosswalks that students are crossing the street with or without a crossing guard
- Look for students near schools, at bus stops, on sidewalks, on the street, or in school parking lots. Be careful
- Do not pass another vehicle in a school zone.
- Do not change lanes or make a U-turn in a school zone.
- Put the phone down. Do not be a distracted driver.
If you or someone you know has been injured while driving their children to school, contact the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. for a free consultation
To keep children who walk to school safe, parents should:
- Advise their children to take the same route to and from school every day. Parents should be aware of what route to school their child or children are taking.
- Stress to their children the importance of going home right after school and not going somewhere else without parental permission.
- Tell their children to use public sidewalks and streets
- Practice proper street and traffic safety when walking with children so they will emulate that behavior
- Create a “walking group” that consists of other children who are walking to the same school.
To keep children who bike to school safe, parents should:
- Contact the school and make sure students are allowed to ride their bikes to school.
- Require their children to wear a bicycle helmet. According to the NSC, wearing a bicycle helmet reduces the possibility of obtaining a head injury by 85 percent.
- Inform their children to stay on the right-hand side of the road. Children should always ride with the flow of the traffic.
- Find a safe route to and from school, and practice riding it with the children.
- Find a riding partner for their children. There is safety in numbers!
If you have been injured by a car while riding your bike with your family to school, call the experienced lawyers at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. who have dealt with many bicycle accident cases.
Clothing and School Supplies Safety
Clothing and school supplies safety tips seem like weird thing to be reading. But wearing or purchasing the wrong item can increase a child’s potential of being harmed at school.
- Students should purchase backpacks with wide straps and padded backs and shoulder straps not exceeding 10 to 15 percent of the child’s body. Having too heavy of backpack can lead to the child harming his or her back or experiencing another kind of injury.
- When packing a backpack, the heaviest items should be placed in first because the closer the heavier items are to a student’s back, the less likely the student will experience strain.
- All compartments of the backpack should be used to ensure even weight distribution.
- Drawstrings should be removed from jackets and sweatshirts. Drawstrings can potentially cause strangulation.
- Art supplies
- Be sure to purchase child safe, non-toxic art supplies.
- If the teacher has provided students with a shopping list, abide by the list unless you have a genuine concern regarding one of the items.
- The NSC states that parents should be sure to purchase art supplies that has “CONFORMS TO ASTM D-4236” on their packaging.
As kids and parents alike enjoy going back to school, remember to stay safe with these tips.