A 2018 Gallup poll reveals that 35 percent of parents fear for their child’s safety at school. That represents a 24 percent increase over the way they felt in 2017. What’s more, a near-record-high 20 percent report that their child has expressed similar fears. I often worry about JR when he’s at Puppy Kindergarten. Since preparation is crucial for improving peace of mind for parents as well as children (and puppies), before your kids (and pups) head back to school, remind them to take the following steps so they will be safe while they are on the road, in the classroom, on a field, or traveling between classes:
- Be Safe on the Road
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that four to six school-age children die each year on school transportation vehicles. Even one child is too many. Nevertheless, this figure represents less than one percent of all traffic fatalities nationwide. So, children are safer traveling on the bus to and from school, overall, than when they are on the road for any other reason. Sounds like a case for purchasing your own school bus? For ideas and inspiration about safely walking, biking or taking the bus to school, check out the blog post we wrote about the subject.
- Practice Situational Awareness
Experts agree the most dangerous distraction kids and teens face today comes from technology. Remind your children to remain alert whenever they are away from home. Despite being told repeatedly about the dangers of walking and/or driving while distracted, studies show they still do it. Personal safety depends on awareness about one’s surroundings. To be safe, your kids need to put down their phones and pay attention to what’s going on around them. This would be good for adults to observe, as well! Make sure you model the same safe behavior when you’re on the road.
- Protect Your Back
With heavy books to carry from class to class, children’s backs are buckling under the strain. Backpacks that are too heavy lead to back, neck and shoulder pain, as well as poor posture. To protect your child, select a backpack that is the appropriate size; features padded, adjustable shoulder straps as well as waist and chest straps and multiple compartments to help distribute weight; and reflective material for visibility on the road. Also, check the fit of your child’s pack and remind your child to use both straps. And while it may seem like a good idea to send your child to school with a rolling backpack, do so only if absolutely necessary. The National Safety Council (NSC) advises against this practice, since such packs clutter school hallways, leading to trip-and-fall accidents. I prefer carrying items in my mouth.
- Stay Safe on the Field
Athletic pursuits help keep kids fit and foster peer engagement. However,injuries associated with playground equipment send more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger head to U.S. hospital emergency departments each year. More than 20,000 of these kids suffer from concussions. To keep your children safe outside, remind them to have fun but to be careful of uneven surfaces, overcrowded areas, sharp points and edges and strangulation hazards.
- Be Careful in the Classroom
Train your kids to pay attention to safety rules at school. They should understand what to do in case of an emergency and actively participate in drills. What’s more, make sure they frequently wash their hands, to prevent the spread of germs.
About the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Training System
Safety is important for everyone all year round, not just for students on their way to and from school or in the classroom. A convenient and affordable way to make sure high-rise occupants are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Training System, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.