Back to School... it is a good time to review some simple safety tips that will help keep them safe when they are away from home.
- Arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to pick the children up.
- Always stand four giant steps back from the curb. When lining up, make the line away from the street.
- Never walk behind the bus.
- If the children have to cross the street to access the door, teach them to take at least six giant steps forward on the sidewalk before turning to cross the street. That way, the children and the bus driver can see each other.
- Teach children to look around them before they get on and off the bus, so as not to leave anything behind.
- Make children aware of the straps on their book bags, as well as any drawstrings that might be hanging from their clothes. These can easily get caught in the door or railings, so children need to take care to keep them secure.
- Tell children that if they do drop something near the bus, tell the driver before they do anything. It is important to make sure that the bus driver knows where they are at all times.
If your child is home alone for a few hours after school:
- Set up rules for locking doors and windows, answering the door or the telephone. Make sure he or she checks in with you or a neighbor immediately after school.
- Agree on rules for inviting friends over and for going to a friend's house when no adult is home.
- Take time to listen carefully to children's fears and feelings about people or places that scare them or make them feel uneasy. Tell them to trust their instincts. Take complaints about bullies and other concerns seriously.
When you drop off your child at school, use this checklist to make sure these hidden hazards aren't waiting to cause injury or death.
Drawstrings on Jackets and Sweatshirts -- There should be no drawstrings on hoods or around the neck. Drawstrings at the waist or bottom of jackets should extend no more than three inches to prevent catching in car and school bus doors or getting caught on playground equipment.
Bike Helmets -- Buy a helmet that meets one of the safety standards (U.S. CPSC, Snell, ANSI, ASTM, or Canadian), and insist that your children wear the helmet each time they ride their bike. Research indicates that a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by up to 85 percent.
Soccer Goals -- Make sure that the athletic director or the custodian anchors the soccer goals into the ground so that the soccer goal will not tip over and crush a child.
Playgrounds -- Check the surfaces around playground equipment at schools to make sure there is a 12-inch depth of wood chips, mulch, sand, or pea gravel, or mats made of safety-tested rubber or fiber material to prevent head injury when a child falls.
Personal Information -- Be sure your child knows his or her home phone number and address, your work phone number, the number of another trusted adult, and how to use 911 for emergencies.
Strangers -- Teach your children never to talk to strangers or accept rides or gifts from strangers. Remember, a stranger is anyone you or your children don't know well or don't trust.
Walking Route -- Should your children need to walk home, make a plan and choose the most direct way with the fewest street crossings and use intersections with crossing guards. Test the route with your child. Tell him or her to stay away from parks, vacant lots, fields, and other places where there aren't many people around. Teach them to obey all traffic signals, signs, traffic officers, and safety patrols. Make sure they walk with a friend, neighbor, or brother or sister.