Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Safety Tips For A New School Year

This summer has flown by, hasn't it? It seems like just yesterday your children were off to sleep-away camp, but now they're about to go back to school. In that vein, here are some safety tips they should observe.

If you ride the bus-
-Sit down at all times unless you're entering or leaving the bus.
-When you get off, cross in front of the bus rather than behind it. Stay at least ten feet in front of the bus to make sure the bus driver can see you; a lot of busses have attachments on the front bumper that the driver can use to keep you far enough ahead of the bus that they can see you.
-Also, don't stoop to tie your shoes or pick things up when in front of the bus because the driver may not see you before they start to move. This is especially applicable for small kids, as they can be more easily 'missed'.
-Stay on the sidewalk when waiting or getting off the bus.

I didn't live close enough to walk or bike to school, but if that's what your child does-
-Always use sidewalks and face traffic.
-When riding a bike, wear a helmet at all times.
-It's best to walk with someone else but, if there isn't anyone to walk with, walk in well-lighted areas. Don't take 'shortcuts' through alleyways or other secluded areas.
-Don't stop to talk with anyone in a vehicle, even if they say they're asking for directions. For that matter, don't stop and talk to *anyone* you don't know. If a stranger attempts to get you into their car or otherwise take you with them, run away and tell a trusted adult as soon as possible.
-On the 'getting into a car' tip, have your family agree on a 'safe word'. If anyone tries to get you to go somewhere with them, ask for that word. That way, if someone approaches you saying they have been sent by your parents to pick you up (a common ruse), you'll know if they are telling the truth.
-Take note of 'safe places' (police stations, stores, restaurants, fire stations etc.) you can 'duck into' if you feel uncomfortable.
-Follow all traffic laws and signals. Always use designated walkways; I once crossed 'outside the lines' and got hit by a car. Trust me, a hospital emergency room isn't the best place to spend a Friday night!
-Wear clothes or carry a backpack in bright colors so you can be easily seen from a distance.

Speaking of backpacks-
-Wear both straps. I know it takes longer to put on and/or might not look as 'cool' as using one strap, but it's better for your back.
-A backpack should weigh no more than 10 to 20 percent of the child's weight. Pack the heavier books, etc closest to the back so the weight can be more easily supported.

Some 'general' tips-
-It helps to wear clothes and shoes you can easily run in. That way, you can get away from someone if you need to.
-Be sure to know your phone number, parents' work numbers, address and route to school.

Have a good year!

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