Staying Safe During Back to School Season

As summer comes to an end and parents prepare their children for another school year, there are important topics to address aside from which school supplies and clothes to purchase. Discussing safe practices for back to school should be high on the list, and can make all the difference in determining your child’s well being. While the “when I was your age, I had to walk 4 miles, uphill, both ways, in the snow to get to school” joke may be out dated, many children still walk, bus, bike ride or car pool to and from school every day. It is a parent’s worst nightmare to imagine anything ever happening to their child, so it is wise to take precautions so accidents can be avoided.

The International Walk to School Month is an initiative to celebrate the benefits of walking and it’s only a month away. This means more children walking, rather than taking the bus, biking, or catching rides to and from school. No matter how your child commutes to school, the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago offers safety tips and steps parents and children can take to make this back to school season safer.

Tips for Pedestrians
• Never walk alone – always travel with a buddy.
• Pay attention to all traffic signals and crossing guards along the way.
• Never cross the street against a stop light.
• Be cautious of who is around you – never talk to strangers.

Tips for Bike Riders
• Avoid ill-fitting clothing that could get caught in spokes, pedals or restrict movement.
• Wear reflective colors and material to be more visible to street traffic.
• Always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.
• Walk your bicycle across all intersections.

Tips for School Bus Riders
• Line up facing the bus, not along side it.
• Never reach under the school bus to get anything that has rolled or fallen beneath it. The bus driver may be sitting too high up to see you.
• After getting off the bus, move immediately onto the sidewalk and out of traffic. If there is no sidewalk, try to stay as far to the side of the road as possible.
• Wait for a signal from the bus driver before crossing the street. Walk at least 10 steps away from the front of the bus so the driver can see you.

It is vital to sit down with your child to discuss safety tips for a stress-free commute to school. Knowing how to prevent unexpected emergencies is the first step in ensuring a great and successful school year. Check out the American Red Cross commuter safety tips for more information. Happy back to school!

Written by: Hannah Segall, Marketing and Communications Intern

Photo courtesy of Visual Photos

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