Back-to-school travel safety

Tips to help keep your children safe on their routes to school.

On the travel between school and home, about 150,000 students suffer injuries every year.[1] Before the first-day school bell rings, discuss these tips to help keep your child safe on his or her route.

If your child walks …

  • Map out a safe route on sidewalks and across crosswalks.
  • Practice walking the route with your child well before the first day of school. Talk about traffic and crosswalks — looking both ways and making sure a car comes to a full stop, for example.
  • Find schoolmates who live along the way and want to walk, too.
  • Outfit your child with helpful safety gear, including reflective tape on backpacks, jackets or shoes.
  • Stress that phones should be put away, and eyes forward and alert.

If your child bikes …

  • Find the safest route possible on well-lit streets with minimal traffic.
  • Invest in safety gear, including bike lights and a properly fitting helmet.
  • Discuss traffic rules and bike signaling.

If your child takes the bus …

  • Introduce yourself and your child to the bus driver.
  • Review bus stop rules such as waiting away from the road and always crossing in front of the bus, not behind.
  • Remind kids to sit quietly while the bus is in motion and follow any additional rules the bus driver has.
  • Go over what stop to get off at, along with what to do if your child accidentally gets off at the wrong stop.

If your child drives …

  • Establish safe routes to and from school, and have your child practice driving the route with a licensed adult.
  • Prohibit smartphone use and driving, which is now illegal in many states.
  • Understand the state laws for teen driving such as passenger restrictions.

While at school …

  • Talk about playground safety rules, for example, making sure equipment is dry and taking turns.
  • Help kids identify a specific adult to ask for help if they feel unsafe or have a difficult interaction with another child.
  • Work with younger kids to help them memorize your contact information, specifically phone numbers of parents, other caregivers, and emergency contacts.

[1] https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Safety-On-The-Way-To-School.aspx

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