School Safety: What Your Kids Should Know
Your kids spend a lot of time at school. As a parent, it’s important to feel that your kids are safe at this home-away-from-home. Although it’s impossible to avoid all accidents, there are some simple steps you and your children can take to stay safe at school.
Do you see your kids cramming binders, notebooks, textbooks, and laptops into their bags in the morning (not to mention lunch bags, musical instruments, sports gear, and more)? It seems that the loads students lug to school get heavier every year. In order to prevent back injuries, backpacks shouldn’t weigh more than 5% to 10% of a child’s body weight. And kids should wear their backpacks on both shoulders for even weight distribution.
Though backpacks are as much a fashion accessory as a practical feature, you should choose (or encourage your style-minded student to consider) a backpack with comfortable straps and a supportive structure.
Riding the Bus
Mornings at the bus stop are an opportunity to practice safe habits with your children. Until you’re confident that your children are experienced enough to safely get to the bus stop and board the bus alone, go to the bus stop with them.
Teach your kids to stand at least six feet away from the curb and look both ways before crossing the street. If they must cross in front of the bus, teach them to stand at least 10 feet ahead of the bus before crossing the street so that they can clearly see oncoming traffic.
Your children should also know that they must remain seated while riding the bus (tempting as it may be to stand in the aisle or kneel on the seat while playing with friends!).
If you have teenagers, you probably don’t worry too much about bus stop safety. But teens driving themselves to school face an even greater risk of accidents. Even once your teen has his or her driver’s license, you should continue to practice driving together.
Like waiting at the bus stop, walking to school is a great opportunity to teach your kids safe walking habits. Teach your kids to walk on the sidewalk whenever one is available, walk facing traffic when no sidewalk is available, look both ways before crossing the street, and make eye contact with drivers before stepping onto a crosswalk.
Remember that cell phones present a host of distractions. Teach your kids the importance of keeping their eyes up and being aware of their surroundings when walking. Make sure they understand that texting while walking – like texting while driving – is dangerous.
Playtime and Sports
Recess may be one of your child’s favorite parts of the school day. While time on the playground is a lot of fun, it also presents some risks. Teach your kids how to safely use playground structures like swings, rock walls, and slides. If you have young children, make sure they leave necklaces and jackets with drawstrings at home to reduce the risk of strangulation.
Sports are another rewarding aspect of many children’s education. Though bumps and bruises are to be expected, it’s important for you and your children to take head injuries seriously.
Inside the classroom, cold and flu season (and the rest of the year, for that matter) put your kids at risk of illness. Make sure your children know to wash their hands frequently (with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds), avoid touching their face, and cover their mouth with their elbow when they cough or sneeze.
Following these simple tips will ensure your child has a safe, productive, and fun school year. At ZenLyfe, we really care about your safety and hope that by providing these guidelines, we make it easy for you to protect yourself and your kids. For more safety tips and conversations, follow the ZenLyfe blog!