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Back to School Safety

by Ronald A. Rowe | September 3rd, 2014 | Elementary, Safety

file0001676024565It is back to school time.  Time to overcome a whole summer’s worth of atrophy when it comes to certain rules and guidelines that only apply during the school year.  Three months may have flown by according to your adult sensibilities but to a child that is a proportionately huge chunk of their memorable life to date.  Be sure to review safety guidelines with your child before he or she returns to school.

Transportation:  One major area to address is transportation safety.  The specifics will vary from situation to situation but every child needs to get to school somehow.  Whether your child takes the bus, rides with you, carpools with others, walks, or rides a bike there are certain safety concerns that apply to that particular mode of transportation.  Even if you have gone over the rules of the road in the past, now is a good time for a refresher to ensure that your child is prepared to get back to school safely.

Emergency Contact: It is also important that your child know your phone number in case of emergencies.  Even if the child is equipped with a cell phone at this young age, he or she should still know your contact phone number by heart.  Clicking “Mommy” from the Contacts menu may work to get you normally, but in an emergency situation, if your child’s cell phone is unavailable for any reason he or she needs to be able to contact you without it.

It is also important that you update your contact information with the school as well as listing any alternate individuals (like a neighbor or grandparent) who are authorized to pick up your child in case you are unable to do so due to some unforeseen circumstance.  Another good idea is the use of a distinctive code phrase that would indicate to your child that a message is authentically from you.  So if a stranger approaches your child and says something along the lines of “your mother sent me to get you; she’s waiting out back” your child would know to ask for the password or phrase.  If the stranger cannot comply, it is time to run and scream for help.

Backpack Safety: One safety concern that may not seem as obvious is backpack safety.  The American Academy of Pediatrics makes the following recommendations concerning the issue of backpack safety:

  • Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
  • Pack light. Organize the backpack to use all of its compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back. The backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s body weight.
  • Always use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles.
  • If your school allows, consider a rolling backpack. This type of backpack may be a good choice for students who must tote a heavy load. Remember that rolling backpacks still must be carried up stairs, they may be difficult to roll in snow, and they may not fit in some lockers.
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