7 Important Back-to-School Safety Tips

Sponsored

ABC Mouse Banner

by: Lindsay Hutton
As a parent, sending your child to school, off into a world without you, can be an anxious time. Give yourself some peace of mind by following these safety tips to make sure she stays safe on the way to school, in the classroom, and while on the playground. Have a great year!
Close up of school bus stop sign
School Bus Safety
Taking the bus alone can be exciting and a little scary for your child, and it's important that your child knows the school bus safety rules:
  • Stand back from the curb as the bus arrives, and never run to or from the bus.
  • Don't push, shove, or yell loudly while on the bus.
  • Stay in your seat during the entire ride.
  • Always obey the bus driver.
  • Wait for the driver's signal before crossing the street, and always cross at least 10 feet in front of the bus.
  • Don't ever get off at a different stop.
Before the first day of school, make sure your child knows where the bus will pick him up and drop him off. For younger children, try to coordinate with other parents so there is an adult there each morning.
Smiling boy learning to ride bike
Bike Safety
If your child is riding his bike to school, make sure he always wears a helmet and understands the rules of the road — bicycles are considered a vehicle, and therefore must abide by the same traffic laws as cars. Your child should always ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, and should know (and use!) the correct hand signals for bicyclists.

Determine the safest route to and from school, and practice riding it before the first day. If possible, have your child ride to and from school with others, and make sure he is well-versed on who to call and what to do in an emergency situation.

Two little girls walking to school
Walking Safety
If your child is walking to school, review and walk the route several times with her before the first day. When school starts, have her walk to school with other children in your neighborhood, and preferably an adult. Always walk on sidewalks, and if sidewalks aren't available, walk on the side of the street facing traffic.

Street corners and intersections are the safest places to cross the street. Review looking both ways ("left, right, left") with your child before stepping off the curb to walk across the street. An intersection with a crossing guard is the best place for her to cross.

Finally, remind her to never cross the street in front of a parked car. Other cars on the road might not see her if she darts into the street.

Three boys with backpacks smiling
Backpack Safety
Your child' backpack shouldn't weigh more than 10-15 percent of his body weight. To help prevent injury, make sure his backpack has wide straps and a padded back, or look into purchasing a rolling backpack. Always place the heaviest items in first, leave anything he doesn't need at home, and encourage him to use both straps when carrying it.
Young boy playing on playground
Playground Safety
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 200,000 children are sent to the emergency room every year with playground-related injuries, and most occur when a child falls from a piece of playground equipment onto a hard surface. The CPSC's playground safety guidelines outline the steps needed to make playgrounds safer for children — find out if your state has passed legislation regarding playground safety.

Ask your child's school how they monitor the playground during recess. Make sure your child knows to go to the monitor on duty if he or someone else is injured. If your child has asthma or a bee sting allergy, make sure your child's teacher has the medication he needs in case of an emergency.

No peanuts allowed sign
Food and Allergy Safety
With the prevalence of nut allergies, many schools opt to go nut-free. Review your child's school rules regarding food and nut allergies before school starts, and know what foods are banned from her classroom.

If your child has a food or nut allergy, talk to her teacher before the first day of school so she knows what to do in case of an allergic reaction, and make sure the school has any medications your child might need.

Unhappy girl being bullied in classroom
Bully Safety
Bullying isn't just a nuisance that you child should put up with — it can be a serious danger to his physical and emotional well-being and should be treated as such. Talk to your child's school about what anti-bullying policies they have in place to deal with any circumstances that arise.

Have a conversation with your child about bullying and how to treat others who might be different from him. Ask him to sign this "bullying stops here" printable pledge, and be aware of any warning signs that your child might be a victim.