Originally published July 2018. Updated July 2022.
It's that time of year again! Back to school means time for new school supplies, a new school year wardrobe and first day of school photos. As exciting as heading back to school can be, as parents, we are constantly thinking about protecting our children. Some of the main school safety concerns for children actually occur during travel to and from school. Whether they walk, bike, ride the bus, or drive, we want to ensure they arrive safely at their destination. So, as your kids prepare to return to school, or even if they've already begun their first day of classes, it's a good idea to review school travel tips with the entire family.
Walking to School
- Plan the most direct route possible between home and school with the fewest street crossings. If available, choose intersections with a crossing guard. Always use public sidewalks and streets.
- Practice the route with your kids before their first day of school.
- Make sure they leave early enough to arrive to school at least 10 minutes before the start of the school day.
- Remind your child to always look both ways before crossing the street and do not enter streets from behind obstacles such as signs, shrubbery, or parked cars.
- There is strength in numbers. If possible, have your children walk to school with each other or with other students.
- Remind them to never talk to strangers. They should distance themselves from anyone who attempts to approach or make contact with them.
- If a stranger does approach them, remind them to immediately report it to you or their teacher. Remind them to never get in a vehicle with anyone without your permission, even if they know the driver.
Riding a Bike
- Check with your child's school beforehand to ensure they allow bicycles, make sure they don't have age requirements for bikes, and that there are areas to lock their bikes safely during the school day.
- Choose the safest route between home and school and practice it with your kids prior to their first day.
- Make sure your child always wears a properly fitting helmet with a secured chin strap. Helmets reduce the chance of injury by 85 percent.
- Teach them to obey the rules of the road. The rules are the same of all vehicles, including bikes.
- Be certain they know to stay in the bike lane whenever possible and to use the sidewalk appropriately, taking care to watch out for pedestrians.
- Make sure that your child knows all appropriate hand signals.
- Remind them to always ride in the same direction as traffic, stay on the right-hand side of the road, and obey all traffic signs and symbols.
Riding the Bus
- Have your child arrive at the bus stop at least 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
- Remind your child to stay out of the street while waiting for the bus to arrive.
- Make sure your child knows they should wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before boarding or deboarding.
- Remind your child they should remain seated, facing forward, keeping their head and arms inside the bus at all times. If their bus includes seat belts, be certain they know to buckle up!
- Remind them to never shout or distract the driver in any way.
- Be certain they know to never walk into the bus driver's blind spots. They should walk no less than about 10 feet in front of the bus.
Driving to SchoolIf you have new drivers, driving to school can provide a sense of freedom, but it's also a major safety concern for parents. Be sure to remind them the rules of the road and to take caution of others, especially on school days.
- Remind them they should not begin their trip until everyone is safely buckled into the car.
- Phones should remain secured and out of hand while driving. In the state of Georgia, it is illegal to have your phone in hand while driving. Texting and driving is hazardous to your young drivers and to everyone else on the road.
- Always obey speed limits, follow traffic signs and lights.
- Be certain they know to stop for buses loading or unloading children.
- Remind your young drivers to watch out and be aware of children near schools, on sidewalks, at bus stops, in the street, and in parking lots.
The conversation about school safety never gets old, so be certain they're safe as the school year rolls on by making it a central discussion topic throughout the year. And as you look at ways to make your home a safe space for your family, protect your home from all intruders with one of our Total Home Protection plans. From pests to prowlers, Cingo has you covered.
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