It is that time of the year again: back to school season. It is also the time to set parameters for back to school safety procedures to ensure the protection of your children.
The National Safety Council cites “leadership, research, education, and advocacy,” as the key elements to prevent injuries and death in any given setting. Add to this “awareness,” and you will have every tool you need to enforce a wonderful back to school safety plan for your loved ones.
- Write, draw, and review with your child the easiest and safest way to get to the bus stop. No stops in between, or visits to friends, are allowed on the way to the stop.
- Give your child 5 golden rules that will never change at the bus stop including never to get in anyone’s car and only to travel to school (and not to another bus stop) on the bus. Also, include no getting off the bus to visit anyone at home.
- Tell your child to always be 10 feet ahead of the bus and to be sure that the child and the driver are in plain view of one another.
- Your child should know never to get off her seat on the bus or distract the bus driver.
Walking to school
- Enforce the importance of sticking to the sidewalks.
- If no sidewalks, encourage walking facing traffic.
- Explain the “Stop and look left- right- left” formula so your child knows how to cross a street. Schools do not always teach these basic skills.
- No horseplay or playing hide-and-seek on the way to school.
- Choose ergonomic backpacks, and explain to your child how to balance out the weight of the contents.
- The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons http://www.orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00043 suggests alternatives to backpacks, such as cross body bags, waist straps, and rolling bags.
- A typical backpack should not weigh more than 15 percent of the child’s weight.
- Keep abreast with your child about all the recently recalled school supplies and other products by periodically visiting http://www.protection1.com/resources/back-to-school-safety/#tRP6z6pvPhIDI9MJ.99
- Ask your children to avoid playing on concrete floors.
- Always have children wear covered, soft-soled shoes, such as sneakers, because they protect the foot from getting their feet cut with playground wood chips, or getting stomped on by the feet of other children.
- Sneakers also protect kids from any other debris on the ground. Sandals are a good choice for outings only. For school, however, they are the least intelligent choice.
- Tell your child to always be with his or her group during playground times, and to always play near the supervising adult.
Cafeteria and Food
- Even if you have notified the school about allergies, provide your child with a bracelet or locket that she or he can show to adults in charge. Specify on the identifier which type of allergy is to be considered and what to do in case of an emergency.
- Provide the school with a note stating any allergies, but also make sure that the note includes the picture of your child.
- Make it easier for cafeteria personnel and school staff to identify allergens by creating a picture collage of the foods to be avoided. Include the name and picture of your child. Make copies in color and offer them to the school cafeteria manager, school nurse, bus driver, and child care providers.
- Ask for a separate table to be available in the cafeteria for students who are allergic to ingredients that may be contained in the lunches of students sitting nearby.
- Pack lunches already with food already pre-cut in chewable pieces to avoid choking. This includes fruit.
- Do not send in cans (like sausage tins) or containers with sharp edges.
- Never send in knives or sharp forks to school inside lunchboxes.
Whether you are a new, or a veteran parent, you may know by now that the most important part of this season is not just getting supplies, clothes, and lunchboxes. The most important part is making our children aware of all potential dangers out there and helping them become entirely self-reliant for when we are not there to protect them.
Keep always alert of any potential additions to your list. Continue your research and enjoy a safe school year!