How to Keep Your Children Safe at the Start of the School Year

Did you know? According to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration, the greatest danger to a child is not riding the bus, but rather getting on and off of it. 

Teaching children proper safety getting on and off the bus is crucial to helping them stay safe. Teach them to stay away from the curb at least five steps and wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before going on or off. Look left and right both ways before crossing the street whether you’re getting on or off the bus. 

But proper bus safety is just one of the ways to keep kids safe when school starts. Many also bike or walk to school, and safety is equally important in these cases. 

Safety While Walking to School

Taking steps to stay safe while walking to school just as important. Encourage your children to stay on the sidewalk or walk on the side of the road facing traffic. Make sure they understand that you should never push, shove or play around traffic. It’s also important that they keep their eyes on the road and not on their phones. 

Students walking to school should look for vehicles before crossing, including bikes, and used marked crosswalks where available. 

Safety While Biking to School 

Just like walking to school, biking also has a set of rules and responsibilities that children should be aware of including making sure, first and foremost, that they wear an age-appropriate helmet. They should also stay in the bike line where possible and avoid using any electronics while driving (including cell phones) since they can be major distractions. 

 

Be sure your child understands proper safety signals and traffic signs and understands to ride in the same direction as the traffic in order to stay safe on the street. 

But even once they get to school, kids can face things that they often don’t want to tell their parents about, including bullying or downright dangerous situations. That’s why it’s so important to foster open communication at all times, and teach your child the following:

Staying Safe While At School

The truth is, there are plenty of internet videos that have gone viral showing some of the most upsetting footage you’ll ever see happening in the hallways and classrooms of schools around the country. From kindergarten until graduation, kids face all kinds of things that we never did in school, which is why it’s so important to stay informed. 

For example, creating a family culture where you encourage your children to come to you about anything -- anything at all -- teaches them to trust you, and also teaches them a healthy respect for authority. Knowing they won’t be judged or criticized also gives them the confidence and courage to approach a police officer, security guard, teacher or another adult if they see a problem, like another student getting bullied.

Bullying itself is another common issue in schools, but those who allow it to happen are just as much a part of the problem. Teach your children to be champions of bullies. Often if they stand up to the bully, the bully will back down, but if not, be sure to ask the school about any anti-bullying initiatives or programs they have going on. 

Play an Active Role in Your Child’s School

If the only time you know what’s happening at your child’s school is during parent teacher conferences or open houses, it’s time to step up and play a more active role. Volunteer if you can, and take a good look at the environment they’re in. Does it feel safe? Get to know your child’s teacher, principal, resource officer and safety procedures. Be an active presence. 

As you can see, there are many ways to keep your children safe to and from school, as well as within the school itself. But perhaps the most important component of safety is open communication. Encourage your child to tell you about their day, what they did, where they went and with whom. Much of staying safe during the school year is simply following common sense procedures, but children have to be taught not just these important safety steps, but why we do them and why they matter. 

The Bottom Line on School Safety

No matter how your child gets to school or arrives home, you as a parent can only do so much to keep them safe while they’re at school. And while buses and schools as a whole are remarkably safe, being an involved parent goes a long way in helping to grow your child’s education and teach them the importance of education in the first place. 

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s safety in school, don’t keep it to yourself. Be sure to ask those responsible and keep prodding until you have an answer. Oftentimes, school safety issues can fall by the wayside, especially at the beginning of the school year with so many other things needing attention. A vigilant and concerned parent can be all it takes to put things back on the right track. 

Now It’s Your Turn…

Are you a parent of a school-aged child? How do you help them stay safe on the road and while getting on or off the bus? Share your safety tips with us and fellow parents below!

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