Teaching your kids about back-to-school safety

When August rolls around, parents often try to get in last-minute road trips and fun summer parties. Then, it's time for back-to-school shopping and planning for lunch boxes. But there's another important aspect to keep in mind – safety. Teach your kids how to handle different situations throughout the year with these tips:

School bus safety
Until you have deemed your children old enough to wait for the bus solo, accompany them to the bus stop. Walk them directly to the bus door once the vehicle has stopped moving and the door has opened. Give your kids a hug goodbye and send them on their way. Once they get a bit older you can watch from the window as they board the bus or merely wave as they run out the door. Just make sure they know not to approach the bus until it is fully stopped.

Biking safety
Many families love to bike to school. It's a fun way to start the morning and end the day, plus it's a great way to commute. If you bike to school with your kids or they make their way on wheels with the rest of the kids in the neighborhood, make sure everyone wears a helmet. Most of these devices are made so they break if they are dropped or are involved in a crash. That means a helmet may be compromised if it falls off the garage shelf. Ensure your family's helmets are all good to go and that their bike tires are aired up before you hit the road. Bikers should stay in the bike lane or on the far right side of the road while watching for pedestrians and drivers who are turning left or opening their car doors. Always use a bike light after dusk and encourage your kids to travel in well-lit areas. Don't hesitate to pick them up if after-school activities run late.

Walking safety
It may seem silly to talk to your kids about walking to school, but a lot can happen in just a few blocks. Make sure your kids are not staring at a phone, gaming device or music player while they walk. This will prevent them from walking into the street without looking both ways, as well as just keep them safer in general. Plus, not using those devices will mitigate the risk of theft from school bullies or strangers. Have your children use a buddy system with other neighborhood kids or their siblings. If they're old enough to have cellphones, consider having them text you that they've arrived at school. It's also important to share that kids should make eye contact with drivers at crosswalks before they begin to cross. This way the kids know the driver sees them before they start into the road. Many schools offer crossing guards to promote safety and ensure everyone gets to class unharmed. If this is true in your community, tell your children to cross the road at locales where there are crossing guards. 

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