Safety Going To and From School:
Remind the kids that they should always walk on the sidewalk and must obey all crossing guards. If the street has no sidewalk, they should always walk facing traffic.
For those who ride their bikes, the bike should fit the child. Eight-year old Johnny shouldn’t be riding his big brother’s bike to school. The bike should also be checked to make sure it is working properly and has the right reflectors so it can be seen easily. The kids should ride on the right side of road with traffic, single file, and then walk the bike across an intersection.
Bike helmets must be worn at all times and should fit properly. (85% of all head injuries could be prevented with a properly fitted bicycle helmet).
Don’t allow your children to wear their iPod’s or other headsets when they’re riding or walking. It doesn’t allow them to know what’s going on around them.
If your children ride the bus, remind children that they should remain seated at all times.
Remove drawstrings from the hoods, waistbands or bottom of all sweatshirts and jackets as they pose a choking threat on playground equipment.
Later in the fall when they are traveling in the dark, make sure they avoid dark clothing when walking to and from school. Reflective tape can be added to the back of their jackets and backpacks for better visibility.
Choosing the Right Backpack:
Did you know that a survey of chiropractors revealed that at any one time 20% of them are treating anywhere from five to nine young patients (ages 5-18) for lower back, neck or shoulder pain due to carrying backpacks that were too heavy? So when you buy their new backpacks this year, make sure you choose the right size. Take your children with you and have them try it on to make sure it fits properly and is not too large.
Don’t let them overload it. A backpack should not weigh more than 15% of a child’s body weight. If the backpack makes the child lean forward to walk, it’s too heavy. Try to get them to take only the essentials to lighten the load. They can also carry the heaviest book in their hand.
Make sure they wear the backpack properly. First, they should use both straps and not sling it over one shoulder (you see a lot of that do that). The straps should fit snugly to keep the backpack close to the body, and if there is a waste strap, they should use it to help distribute the weight.
Safety on the Playground:
Before you drop your child off for their first day of school, it’s probably a good idea to ask the principal if you can check out the playground. Make sure there is a sufficient layer of mulch, sand, gravel or rubber mats to absorb a fall.
And at your daycare center or pre-school, ask them if they have gone through the toys from last year and culled out all of the recalled toys.
We can’t put our children in a bubble, or watch them every minute. But please take a little extra time before school begins this year to do what you can to keep them safe.